Can you please provide us with a description of your professional career?
Since graduating from art college I have worked in textile design studios creating artworks for fashion and trend forecasting. Five years ago I set up my own business and I’m now the owner and Creative Director of a design studio specialising in bespoke wallpaper and fashion projects.
What inspired you to become a designer?
I chose to specialise in textile design as it is the perfect balance of creative and technical problem-solving.
What has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?
I try and do visual research most days, whether this is online or books, films, exhibitions or surroundings. This means that the sources of inspiration are always evolving. I will, however, always go back to ancient Asian art from Japanese screens to Indian miniature paintings. The colours, composition and techniques are so unbelievably amazing and I feel I will always be able to learn more from them.
How do you approach your projects?
Our projects are usually broken down in four stages. Research and concept, hand-painting, digital design work and finally printing.
Who is your favourite designer and why?
I’ve never had a single favourite designer, it’s too difficult to choose as we get inspiration from so many different sources and this is always evolving.
Would you say that you have a design style? If so, how would you describe this style?
The studio’s house style is sophisticated but playful. We use traditional hand-painted techniques and combine this with the latest digital print technology.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for today’s designers?
I think as the industry becomes more saturated it is getting harder to start out and make a living off creative work. I think that’s why originality in design work is so important.
What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
When I first sat down to write the business plan I knew I wanted to run a design studio rather than just work as a freelance designer. Growing the business from one to a team of five has been more challenging and rewarding than I ever imagined.
What has been your most notable project?
Last year we collaborated on a global collection with H&M, it was one of the fastest and most fun projects we have worked on. It has been an amazingly surreal experience from seeing my name up in Times Square, to being connected to people all around the world who bought pieces from the collection.
Can you talk us through your concept for the Silk Route?
This series of new designs is inspired by the melting pot of culture on the Silk Route. It brings together the studio’s most celebrated art, textiles and mythology along the ancient trade network. The colour palette is both exotic and delicate, and references the luxury goods sold on route. Rich tones reminiscent of spices and precious gems are softened with silk and porcelain pastels.
Do you have a preferred colour palette that you enjoy working with?
We work in so many different palettes it is tricky to decide. Personally though, I’m often drawn more to rich warm tones – burnt oranges, deep reds and plaster pinks.
What do you believe is of utmost importance when it comes to the design?
Originality, even when the brief encourages you not to be, there are always things you can push to ensure you aren’t repeating yourself or others.
What advice would you offer to those that are considering a career in design?
Try and gain as much industry experience as you possibly can. If you are applying for a job, make sure you take the time to contact someone personally.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for newly-qualified designers?
The difference between how you need to work in the industry and how you work at college or university is huge. Learning to adapt to this is quite humbling and challenging.
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
We aren’t always able to talk about our projects but you can expect to see a new exciting collaboration later in the year.