Since starting this blog it has got me thinking about my own interests and you know, all the big designers are all well and good but there is plenty of lesser known talent out there. So I started to look into designers in my local area of Dorset, UK and came across Lauren, who studied Printed Textiles at Loughborough School of Art and Design. She has since worked with some big names such as Alexander McQueen as well as getting a few awards under her belt. She kindly agreed to an interview with me, so here it is!
* Tell me a bit about yourself and how you came into going into textile design?
I have always had an interest in textiles and fashion. I come from a very artistic family and I believe that their enthusiasm when I was younger has helped my passion for design. I first got into textile design when I started was at school- experimenting with mixed media embroidery and felting and really just ‘playing around ’ with ideas. At university I studied textile design where I specialized in print for fashion. I soon developed a sense for colour and pattern and really developed skills that have helped me build a good portfolio and collection of work.
* What are your influences?
I get inspired by a lot of things; usually I see something in a museum, historical artifacts appeal to me. I think its better to see objects first hand than from books or magazines. I did a project based on a beautiful garden in Marrakech, this incorporated flowers as well as elements of African textiles and patterns, and I was also inspired by a mixture of textures seen on my travels.
* What was your first ever project and how did that go?
My first ever textile project was about embellishment and I remember making a life sized cardboard dressing table and mirror that I embroidered with images of jewellery and attached beads. I like to collect and display vintage objects and I love my mother’s crazy 8o’s jewelley.
* How has your work and designs evolved since then?
My work has been much more directed at industry and more product based in the last few months, I have been working on turning my fabric prints into garments and accessories. I have improved the quality of my work and used technology (in particular computers) to make the work more professional.
* You've worked with some major designers such as Alexander McQueen and Zandra Rhodes, how did that come about?
I benefited enormously from working with such great designers and their design teams. I communicated via email and they set up interviews with me. It’s a great but challenging experience that’s beneficial to any devoted designer.
* What has been your favourite project so far?
My favourite project was my final degree collection that was about Paul Poiret, a French couturier in the early 1900’s. This concept had good depth to source my inspiration as it brought in elements of Orientalism, The Ballet Russe and fauvism.
* How was it being named a finalist in the Young Textile Designer of the Year competition?
It was exciting to know that my design was chosen over hundreds of other applicants, and I had a brilliant time at the awards on the Catwalk of the Clothes Show in London. This experience taught me a lot about commercial and high street fashion as it was to do with New Look, I would love to design one day for a more couture market.
* What advice would you offer to any designers trying to break into the industry?
Be friendly to everyone that likes your work and try to take up any opportunity that is offered to you no matter how small, you never know what it could lead to.
* What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
I am currently exhibiting at New Designer in The Business design centre, in London (its WELL worth a visit if your interested in doing a textile degree). I’ve being offered some freelance print work for studios and I’m also doing freelance print and embroidery design for New Look. Most importantly i am starting a masters at the Royal College of art in sept so there is plenty for Lauren Barfoot designs to come!
• Finally...Sum yourself up in 3 words!
Friendly, hardworking and positive