How important is travel and culture as a source of inspiration for you?
Travel and my interest in culture have always been a big source of inspiration to me. I consider it very important, not just because of the knowledge and new concepts it provides but because it educates us and allows us to view things with a new perspective which can be really interesting. I find this perspective during travel a real inspirational fuel for new ideas. It provides that diversity I try to maintain and generates new challenges that can positively disrupt too much routine within our lives. Travel and culture feed us with energy to try new things and push ourselves that little bit further. When I travel, I try to record as much as I can through notes and drawing without disrupting the experience too. I also try not to plan too much ahead as that sense of freedom alongside apprehension and fear of the unknown has often resulted in some incredible memories and experiences.
Have you always hand-dyed your fabrics? Could you talk us through the process?
I try to be as interactive as possible with the materials I use, whether that is through considered sourcing or my own manipulation. I feel continual progression is really important as I want my work to be more than just product but an artistic representation of my approach as a designer too.
Since colour is so important to me, dying my own fabrics initially came from the challenge of trying to source specific colours. Dying Fabrics myself proved a far easier way of achieving exactly what I wanted. I can be quite a perfectionist, which is a good yet frustrating trait to have from personal experience. To be honest, the process involves a lot of trial and error. There is always an element of risk, variation and handmade quality, which I really like. It means that each fabric and therefore each product will forever be slightly unique from another. I have tried the process of natural dyeing too. This doesn’t always quite achieve the level of colour I aim for but to I hope to develop ways of incorporating this into my work somehow. I am always on the lookout for new ways of working within my practice.
Could you tell us a bit more about the term ‘Seawolf’ and its relevance to your work?
Seawolf is a concept that I hope will make a true impact one day. I am a real believer in life-balance and how our work should never cause any elimination of other interests in life as it is inevitable that they will compliment each other somehow. Ironically, even as a lover of fashion, I also have a real resistance and distaste for aspects of our materialistic culture. I think we often forget that true happiness does not come from the quantity of stuff we possess but people and our surroundings. We forget the value of those who support and inspire us, the positive euphoria gain from contributing towards another’s happiness and the satisfaction of materialistic simplicity. Seawolf is the Idea that materialistic success can be capped and beyond that, we should apply our energy towards shaping and evolving greater things. The success of a product is not just about the sale and satisfaction to the wearer but the positive, extended product effect. Seawolf is dynamic, diverse collaborative and ever-changing. It is what makes us think less about immediate production and more about the people, process, longevity and impact amongst a much bigger picture.
Do you think the fashion industry needs to do more with regards to the biological impact it has on our planet?
Absolutely. I don’t want to be too negative as there are always ways we can do better, but the fashion industry has the power, as a major contributor, to positively address this. I do think that a majority of brands have the ability to consider and respond to these issues without creating a negative impact on their business. Our culture is so open to these changes, and I hope for it to be part of the natural evolution within Fashion now. Where speeding up this evolution is the added bonus and products what were perhaps once desired are replaced by less biologically impactful ideas. To work for a brand that takes these issues seriously and reduces their impact where possible does give me a feeling of pride. I do feel that this should be at the forefront of the fashion industry and I do consciously try to make an effort to engage in these issues myself. In my opinion, it’s all about being involved, taking responsibility and educating each other about these issues positively. We are controllers of our own future, and together we can make a difference.