Continuing with our focus on womenswear, we chat with Abigail Lee, a Middlesex University graduate. Abigail has previously interned with Westcott Design Company, Scott Ramsay Kyle and Julian J Smith. Lee specialises in printed textiles and dabbles with embroidery and fabric manipulation.
Planet Notion: What is the inspiration behind your most recent collection?
Abigail Lee: My travels often feed my design work, having ventured over to Southeast Asia last summer (2010), my pre-collection drew inspiration from the very spiritual ‘Hmong’ Tribes I met whilst over there. Continuing this native spirit infused theme, my final collection ‘Spirited Decay’, showcases tonal and textural fabrics that have evolved from studies of bones, decayed leaves, and eroded surfaces.
PN: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
AL: Tribal, tonal, textural.
PN: Are there any particular construction/design techniques or fabrics/materials that you specialise in?
AL: I have used various weights and finishes of wool and silk in this collection. Using needle punch to fuse fabrics and create a merging from one pattern/fabric to the another. The prints are hand-painted or screen printed or a combination of the two! I have also manipulated fabric using various techniques, all ideas I transferred to the hats, shoes and necklaces (which aren’t actual pebbles)!
PN: Are there any designers that have influenced your work or that you admire?
AL:I have always admired Christian Lacroix’s skill in fusing pattern, colour, texture, culture and era. I think Dries Van Noten is a master of combining prints, his use of colour and general aesthetic really appeals to me.
PN: What are your hopes for the future?
AL: I wish to work creatively and get by, I really enjoyed making the accessories for my collection and I still wish to generate new print and embroidery designs, I would love the chance to design and travel.
PN: In terms of employment and support, how do you feel the climate in the fashion industry is for recent graduates? Do feel it is a challenging time to be graduating?
AL: Graduating is a challenge no matter the industry, I’m graduating for the first time, I’ve never expected it to be easy. Its a stronger deterrent, like a filtering system of design talent and determination… perhaps somewhat naively, I believe it’s a matter of continuing to put the work in you will be rewarded.
PN: How do you see yourself developing and growing as a designer?
AL: I’m not looking too far ahead at this point, I don’t want to miss out as a result of a stone set end goal, I have always been fully involved in everything I set out to do, so I want to make the most of every opportunity, and I’m very open to working on different projects. I believe one thing leads to another and Im excited by the infinite possibilities of where I might end up!
PN: The British fashion industry is world renowned for its creativity and new design talent. How does it feel to be included in this exciting and respected sector?
AL: It feels fantastic to be in a position to contribute!
PN: If you could work with any designer for a day who would it be?
AL: Dries Van Noten
PN: Who would you love to dress or to see in your clothes? Your ideal customer?
AL: Free-spirited, interesting and exciting people who love life and wish to accomplish things; I’d like to dress Natalie Portman.