This week, I was perusing blogs and websites about fashion, design, art, and all things I love, when I happened upon a blog by a young woman named Charlotte Taylor. I found out that Charlotte is an up-and-coming fashion designer who is spunky, bright, and brimming with an optimism that is hard to find in the fashion industry right now.
Charlotte’s blog documents the process of starting her own line. I thought this was genius. It shows such a down-to-earth and human side of fashion that you can really relate to. This was very refreshing when compared to the normal snobbery of the fashion world that attempts to work as far away and as secretly as possible.
Charlotte went to Central Saint Martins, which is a fashion design school that most of the students at Pratt (the design school I attended in NYC) idolized. I was interested in her experience at design school and after design school, so I asked her if she would do an interview and explain some of her experiences of being and becoming a fashion designer with all of the lovely Lulus.com fans!
So here is the interview and some pics of her design process. Check it out!
Here is a picture of one of her mood boards that has some of the images that have inspired her line!
How did you get into fashion design?
I have always been artistic. I spent my weekends painting the Lake District, where I grew up, in watercolor. (Could I be more twee?!) I initially wanted to be an architect but changed my mind in my late teens. I am definitely a designer, as opposed to a “fashionista.” I love being creative and experimenting. I’m also one for pushing and challenging myself; I think it comes from having an older brother. If I didn’t keep up, I got left out!
What was fashion design like at Central Saint Martins?
To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it for the fist few years, and I nearly left on a number of occasions for a number of reasons. However, I did a sandwich course, and in that I mainly worked with Marcus Constable, who was brilliant and taught me so much. I owe a lot to him. When I returned to college for my final year, we had a new tutor who was super enthusiastic and really pushed the course and the system. I loved every minute of that year and have really fond memories. We were like a family and would take it in turns to bring each other treats to keep us going.
What are the things that really get you worked up and going when it comes to your work? Is it the drawing, production, fabrications, etc.?
Hmm, all of it, really. It is the most satisfying thing, looking back at an inspiration board with finished garments in your hand, picking out where all the details, fabrics, pleats, etc. came from. I find the whole process totally exhilarating. Even being creative with marketing and PR is exciting. I am totally in love with what I do. It gives me such a buzz.
Who are some designers that have influenced you the most? Or any artists that have had an impact on the way that you see/approach design?
Jenny Saville influenced me a lot in my early days (about 15 years old). She paints overweight ladies in a “no frills” manner. She shows people, warts and all, and accentuates the bad parts more than the good. I love her paintings, although some of them are truly grotesque. It really got me started on “ugly beauty.” I then moved on to beauty in age, decay, etc. and am still today influenced greatly by all these things. I wouldn’t say that I am influenced by designers as such; it is more everyday life.
What are some of your favorite trends or fashion movements?
I love the mods. I have a lot of respect for punks too. It was revolutionary. To be a punk, you have to sacrifice a normal existence to some extent. It’s a life change. I’m also a closet 80’s fan, mainly because most of it makes me laugh a lot. The film Working Girl is one of my favorites. White socks and trainers over 10 denier tights with a mini skirt and a perm that would put any poodle to shame … you’ve got to give that girl credit.
For your upcoming debut, what is the concept/inspiration for the collection? Or how did grannies start to inspire you? What details/attributes to little old ladies are you implementing in your designs?
The collection is inspired by trashy grannies, penguins and the eccentric within. I take aspects from all of these. Colour, shape, fabric, story, etc. The clothes do not look like they have been swiped from a granny’s back; they just have hints of it.
And what are some of your hopes and dreams for where your ideal landing place would be with your line and business?
I aim to sell to small boutiques in the UK and online, starting small to build up good relationships with retailers and make sure that all deadlines and targets are met. There is nothing worse than a designer getting too big for their boots at the beginning, falling flat on their face and then looking like a fool the next season when they end up with half the budget and rubbish collection/lookbook etc. People don’t forget that. Fashion is all about image and the publics’ perception of a brand. If people like the brand’s image and the “Charlotte Taylor girl,” they will buy the product. Marc Jacobs is exemplary at this.
Any other hobbies/interests that you have?
When I’m not in the studio I’m doing sport of some kind. I’m big into my watersports and have been wakeboarding and skurfing all summer. I am learning to surf too. I also did a half triathlon last year and am doing a half marathon in March with my bro. We intend to do a full triathlon by the end of the year. I would love to run the New York Marathon as well. I am a massive skiing fan too.