You're shopping in

Select your preferred currency

  • Add wonder to your walls with our new Wallpaper Murals ✨

    Shop Now

    Add wonder to your walls with our new Wallpaper Murals ✨ Shop Now

  • 🇬🇧 Free Shipping on UK Orders over £200*

    Free Returns

    🇬🇧 Free Shipping on UK Orders over £200*

    Free Returns

  • 🇺🇸 Free Shipping on US orders over $300* & Free US Returns,

    Duties & Taxes included

    🇺🇸 Free Shipping on US orders over $300* & Free US Returns, Duties & Taxes included

Uncover the inspiration behind the Explorer collection

Uncover the inspiration behind the Explorer collection

To mark the launch of the Explorer collection join us on a journey to discover the inspiration behind our brand new scarves. Read on to learn about the origin of the Lost World and Zambezi designs, and remind yourself of how the classic Expedition came to life. Explore Emma's own fascinating points of reference, from old silent films, primary research from her travels and fantasy adventure stories aplenty... 

The Explorer collection as a whole was largely inspired by the excitement and charm of Jules Verne's adventure stories, Emma's travels through Africa (which you can learn about here) and the beauty found when surrealism meets the natural world. As with all of our Inspiration series on the blog, when you see Emma's initial inspirations, it's not difficult to see how the design process begins...

The Explorer collection by Emma J Shipley is a unique scarf range inspired by a range of adventure tales, world travels and magical creatures. Some of Emma's key influences came from silent films of the 1920's, her visit to the African savannahs and the stories of Jules Verne

As with our entire design catalogue, Emma's original illustrations are brimming with influences from both the natural world and a mysterious fantasy realm. From frozen magic lands to surreal safari scenes, the finished designs take you on an adventure through the world of EJS, where marching penguins, majestic spotted elephants and distant dinosaurs roam free...

Discover the origins of the three magical Explorer scarf designs: Lost World, Expedition and Zambezi - all hand drawn by designer Emma J ShipleyThe Lost World Design

The Lost World design features an enchanting scene of discovery, with a curious peacock-tailed zebra, winding foliage, towering mountains and a trio of mighty dinosaurs in the distance. Key influences lie in Jules Verne's adventure novels and its namesake, the 1925 silent film The Lost World. Complete with a colourful rainbow, erupting volcano and an enchanting waterfall reminiscent of the Victoria Falls, this is truly a lost world full of wonder. Pictured below is a selection of reference images which influenced the majestic design. It's full of magical imagery including film stills, animal illustrations, travel photographs, posters, vintage stamps as well as Emma's own images from her travels to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Victoria Falls...

Explore the influences behind Emma J Shipley's Lost World design, part of our Explorer collection. The inspiration stemmed from 1920's cinema and the natural beauty of the African savannahs. Here you can find a combination of secondary and primary sources - including photographs Emma took on her recent research trip to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Victoria FallsThe main inspiration of this scarf design came from Emma's trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana and the incredible experience she had while exploring. The creatures and landscapes of Africa provided the perfect starting point for the Lost World to be built upon.

A large portion of further inspiration was The Lost World, 1925, a silent film adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel of the same name. The story follows an expedition to the Amazon to uncover a rumour that dinosaurs are still roaming the jungle. Emma's original moodboards were full of surreal film stills featuring huge dinosaurs walking the earth, and mysterious, eerie film title scenes

Not all of the inspiration for this design came the inhabitants of Earth...if you look closely you can see distant planets and space ships amongst a sea of twinkling stars. Emma's influences ranged to vintage images of UFO's and illustrations of rockets headed to the moon. Take a closer look at some of the key images that inspired the Lost World below, including some highlights from Emma's original moodboards...

Images from Jules Verne's adventure stories were a key focal point in Emma J Shipley's original Lost World moodboards. The 1925 film The Lost World provided inspiration not only in the form of mighty dinosaurs, but also the beautiful landscape

The Lost World features beautiful handwritten script and finishing touches inspired by outer space. Emma's influences for these finer details came from images such as vintage illustrations, posters and film titles from the early 20th Century

Beautiful photographs taken by Emma: the zebra of the Lost World design was very much inspired by the incredible animals Emma witnessed and photographed while on her travels through Southern Africa. Similarly, the magical waterfall in the distance of the design was based upon a trip to the enchanting Victoria Falls - the charming rainbow in the clouds was another product of this perfect primary research

The Expedition Design

The Expedition design is an older illustration of Emma's from 2014, which, due to popular demand, we decided to bring back this season to join our Explorer collection. The design is home to an impressive explorer's balloon watching a colony of penguins marching through the snow beneath a magical starry night sky. Discover some of Emma's original inspiration in the moodboard below...

The classic Expedition design by Emma J Shipley was inspired by a fantastical journey through an icy dreamland. Snowy mountain tops, expedition maps and magical starry skies were key points of reference...The inspiration behind the design comes from a vast range of intrepid adventures, ranging from early human expeditions to the Polar regions to the march of the penguins. A visit to the Polar Museum in Cambridge inspired the explorer's balloon, which takes centre stage in the illustration. Symbolising human technology and exploration among a world of natural beauty, the balloon flies through a magical starry scene. Key elements from Emma's research include compasses, maps, co-ordinates and the breathtaking Antarctic landscape.

Details from Emma J Shipley's Expedition moodboards give a little insight into the fantastical worlds which inspired the classic hand drawn design. A visit to the Polar Museum in Cambridge inspired key details, including the huge explorer's balloon heading through the midnight sky

Beautiful documentary photographs discovered during our trip to the Polar Museum show just how magnificent the icy realms of the Earth are.

"The inspiration behind the design comes from a vast range of intrepid adventures."

The march of the penguins is an astonishing ritual carried out in the polar regions, which inspired the formation of the striding penguins in the Expedition design. The photographs below capture this incredible activity, shot by documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado. The images are taken from his series Genesis, which focusses on how his camera enabled the natural world to speak directly to him.

Stunning photographs captured by Sebastião Salgado depicting the magical march of the penguins, a famous ritual which inspired the key characters of Emma J Shipley's Expedition design

The Zambezi Design

The Zambezi design hosts a fantastical world of majestic, spotted elephants, leaping gazelles and soaring hornbills on a journey through a safari scene, with plenty of surreal EJS twists along the way. Like the Lost World design, it features beautiful finishing touches of shining stars, spinning planets and twisting foliage. Lose yourself in the beautiful references below, all of which played a part in inspiring this striking illustration...

The Zambezi design by Emma J Shipley was inspired by the experiences of her recent travels through Africa; here you can see some of her own photos mixed in with a selection of sourced imagery. Adventure stories, vintage posters, book covers and anatomical illustrations were also important influencesThe Zambezi was largely inspired by Emma's recent trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana. This African adventure played a huge role in the Zambezi influences; experiencing the sights, colours, creatures and sounds of the African landscape was the perfect primary research. Again, Jules Verne's adventure stories - and the charming book covers and illustrations that correlate to them - were key references throughout the design process. The beautiful reality of Emma's African exploration mixed with the surreal fantasy of Verne's tales created a magical contrast and the Zambezi design began to come to life.

Emma J Shipley's original mood boards for the Explorer collection featured a lot of primary photographs taken during an adventure of Zimbabwe and Botswana, and many anatomical and vintage animal illustration

"...experiencing the sights, colours, creatures and sounds of the African landscape was the perfect primary research."

Discover more of Emma's own images taken while traveling through Botswana and Zimbabwe. The spotted elephants of the Zambezi design were, of course, hugely inspired by the magnificent creatures Emma saw and photographed on her visit. Colour inspiration for our scarves often comes from the enchanting colours found in nature; this charming bird Emma photographed is the perfect example

Whether its the magnificent Lost World zebra, the marching Expedition penguins or the spotted Zambezi elephants, there's magical creatures to enjoy and enchanting adventures to embark on in the Explorer collection for everyone...

The Explorer collection is now available to shop on the online store - which EJS treasure will you choose?

If you're an Explorer lover then keep your eyes peeled, as these fantastical designs will be coming to a brand new cushion collection very soon...