From Dull #1 Issue
Did you grow up in a creative environment?
Sort of. My dad is a nursery/primary school teacher, and he was always taking us to museums and stuff. And my mum always worked a few jobs, but she would often work with textiles and soft furnishings/interiors. I would go with her to Shepherd’s Bush Market and to department stores to buy fabrics.
Did you think you’d get into something other than fashion at the time?
When I was 19 and studying for my Art Foundation degree I had a bit of an anti-fashion moment. I specialised in Print Design, and seriously thought about studying Fine Art. But I still felt a bit lost and I realised I had always been mad about clothes, patterns and colours, so I decided to pursue fashion.
What were you studying before going to Central Saint Martins?
Before doing the Textiles for Fashion option on the Central Saint Martins Fashion MA I worked part-time for a year at the Marc Jacobs flagship store in London and part-time at J.W.Anderson. And before that I did a BA in Fashion Design at the University of Brighton. In the year since I graduated I’ve also gained a lot of work experience through various internships and working with stylists.
You referred to your work as “girly for tomboy”. What is your vision of the “Sadie Williams woman”?
My work often reflects my personal style, which combines the part of me that loves to dress up and be quite feminine, and the part of me that loves to wear tomboyish clothes and sportswear.
I know you want to keep it a secret for as long as possible, but what are you planning to show for SS16?
I don’t want to go into it too much at this point, but let’s just say I’ve been going back to old photos from school, from things like the school disco and how I used to make my own outfits. I’ll be pairing these teenage influences with more grown-up, refined styles such as big skirts and a few sportswear pieces.
"It’s really tough, and there’s an insecurity that comes with that. I think this pushes people to think quite creatively and resourcefully.time it’s really tough, and there’s an insecurity that comes with that. I think this pushes people to think quite creatively and resourcefully."
Are you still sponsored by NewGen?
Yes, I‘ve received sponsorship to present my collection at an exhibition space at LFW.
How do you feel about London?
London is my home. I have many peers doing similar work such as running their own labels or magazines. At the moment I can’t imagine being able to do what I do anywhere else in the world.
The London fashion scene seems so animated lately, can you tell us a bit about what’s going on?
There are lots of young designers trying to run their own labels, and support from initiatives like NewGen and Fashion East make it possible. But at the same time it’s really tough, and there’s an insecurity that comes with that. I think this pushes people to think quite creatively and resourcefully. People become more connected by looking to each other for support or varied expertise and skills in different areas. As a designer you can end up collaborating with friends and peers who do all sorts of creative things, such as writing, running magazines, styling or set building.
What makes you nervous?
The pressure of making a collection can be quite daunting, especially as I currently run the company on my own without a team. And financial security for the future can be worrying, as it takes a huge amount of money to do what I am doing. Besides making the physical collection there are so many other huge costs to consider, including renting studios, equipment, paying for showrooms, trademarking, and organising and printing lookbooks.
I heard you’re also consulting for other brands. Can you namedrop a bit and tell us about experience? How is it different from working for your own label?
I used to work quite a lot with Marc By Marc Jacobs. I would sometimes develop print designs they had already started. I would alter the designs and offer developed options and various colourways. I would also sometimes develop real textile samples showing a design on the proposed fabric. When Katie and Luella became the head designers, they were interested in my work and bought a series of my personal textile samples to use as a reference in their textile development for their AW14 collection.
What are your upcoming projects?
Working towards my SS16 collection is my only priority right now. As well as designing the collection I’ll be creating the installation, the lookbook, potential events and all the other preparations that goes into it.
By Mélodie Thomas