Tell us a little bit about what you do?
I run and design for a small clothing label, Abbey Rich. We are currently hand-made and made to order, screen printing my illustrations on to organic and sustainable cloth that is then constructed by Laura Clark.
I also spend a lot of time painting and drawing as I am working towards a solo exhibition this coming October. I suppose I am a textile designer by trade (although I have deferred my studies for now) but I'd like to think my practice extends beyond that title.
Would you say that your environment shapes your work?
100%, I can see a huge reflection of my life in my work for sure. I think my creativity comes from my surroundings and what I experience in those places. Whether it be clearly shaping motifs or silhouettes- or just inspiring me to get lost in my work.
I have also noticed that the more time I spend in the fashion industry, my desire to make smarter and ethical choices surrounding our suppliers has grown. If I am to contribute waste to the earth I want it to be worth something, coming from a place where everyone involved was treated fairly and making the smallest negative impact upon the world.
Who was your first style icon, and what excited you about their identity?
When I was a teenager I spent a lot of time wanting to dress like a stereotypical boy - anyway to rebel against the environment of an all girls school, I suppose. It wasn’t really until i was 19/20 that I really started to be inspired by one specific ‘style icon'.
Jenny Kee is probably the most notable - her ability to mush many colours together and somehow make it work was, and still is a huge inspiration for me. I think this often extends beyond just the style of a person and into the way they live their lives and are unashamedly honest in their output. I think confidence in dressing however the hell you want to was something I really admired whilst I was developing my own style.
How about more recently?
Jenny Kee is still a huge deal for me, however now I see myself taking style inspiration from everyone around me. I’m super into 80’s style and have also found myself dressing very much like a guy I used to date. He dressed impeccably - loads of denim and beige and now that we are no longer together I’ve stolen lots of his ‘looks,’- not in a negative way but in a "Yeah, I respect your sense of style" kind of way. I also wear a lot of my mumma’s clothing and jewellery - so I’ve always got a little bit of her wherever I am. I think that the people in my life and how I am feeling has kind of become more of my ‘style icon’ than any one specific person.
How important is developing a relationship with your wardrobe to you?
Clothing is the easiest way to express yourself, it is something we all choose to put on our bodies. Each piece, whether you like to admit it or not is a reflection of you at the time you bought it and at the time you choose to wear it out into the world. Often when I’m feeling shit I will use my clothing to construct an outfit that gives men confidence and makes me feel a little better about stepping outside.
I really try to make informed, conscious decisions about my clothing purchases because working in this industry really makes you think about where everything is being made and the conditions they are being made under. So I am more likely to put money into an ethically produced item or an old vintage piece because i want to keep the relationships i have with my clothing, positive ones.
Which item of clothing would you consider to be the most significant?
It was super hard to pick actually - I have developed quite a connection to most of my wardrobe - I definitely associate my clothes with events or periods in my life, or I love something because of where it has come from, i.e. Jenny Kee, Ken Done or my Mumma.
Though I think my knitted, ankle length cardigan is the absolute best. It is a Romance was Born x Cleckheaton pattern that my grandma and I knitted up on a family holiday a few years ago. It is super colourful and warm. She and my Pa ran a textile company, it's sweet that belonging to this industry has carried through generations.