NEWS| Images and Questions from Phoebe English's Live Studio Session with SHOWstudio
Q. What propelled you into Fashion? And what was it like when you won the Vauxhall Fashion Scout's Merit Award?
Phoebe: I guess fashion was something i was really interested in. I was always unhappy with my clothes as a child, I always had little things I wanted to change, my collar or whatever. I was always interested in fashion, as both my parents were artists so there were always lots of beautiful things around the house, kimonos and fezzes. But I was interested in lots of things. It was never like this is my first euphoric moment with fashion - I just kind of ended up doing it. And then the first time I was just like wow - felt like I'd actually got somewhere I guess came later. I never did it because I wanted to end up with my own label. It was as just something I was going to do and see what happened. I did the BA at Central Saint Martins and then I stayed and did the MA. It all just blurred into one, just went on and on one thing til another. And suddenly I was at the end of the MA and I got such a nice response. It all just went very well. It was amazing to get the award. It was really nice to be supported that was really great - that someone felt I was worth investing in. It's nice to have your own show - quite daunting but nice.
Q. What was it about Saint Martins that changed you so much?
It was the teaching. There was just this clarity. It's like gaining a deeper surrounding of aesthetics really. I think there is a tendency in the British education system, where art and design and creative things are often seen as simpler or easier. But they are actually incredibly complex and difficult. So it was a very stimulating environment to be surrounded by people who were very good at what they did. So you are propelled by the teaching but also by your peer group. You're all like 'I get this now, I understand what's good and what's not good and what works and doesn't for me.' It's a clarity. As a course it's the most couture thing you could ever do - everyone work is judged and critiqued in a different way to everyone else. it's like putting a microscope to yourself.
Q. Do you think you would ever do menswear? If so, why? Or indeed, why not?
Rose: The pink latex kilt from the last collection got a lot of attention from men!
Phoebe: I don't know that much about it - I think i'd feel like a bit of a fraud. But never say never! I think a lot of what i do is about being a woman and designing for a women. Like knowing that a particular length of sleeve will make your feel protected, or that exposing a certain bit of your back will make you feel sexy. It's about tapping into a certain psychology and I'm not sure I could do that for men. But I do love it when stylists borrow our clothes and put them on men.
Rose: Maybe it could just be unisex clothing.
Phoebe: Actually maybe it would be quite fun to do menswear - let's do a little pop up menswear collection!
Q. Which of your contemporaries do you find most interesting? And generally, what are you excited by in fashion?
Phoebe: Actually do you know what. When you are studying you are so scathing about work - you can be like that's shit, that's bad, that designer has gone bad now. Now I'm doing my own thing I have such such respect for anyone and everybody doing this because it's so hard.
Rose: Sometimes its annoying to be put into a bracket of young London designer. but that's what it is - we are young and we are creating in London. We are alongside the kind of people who we are stocked next to in Dover Street, like Craig Lawrence and Simone Rocha. And I think its important that we see how the work sits next to theirs as that's how it will be viewed.
Phoebe: But there is room for everyone. There are infinite tastes. Even things that are hideous sells. So there is room for everyone.
Q. Who would you both love to dress?
Phoebe: Yolandi Visser. I think it would be amazing to dress someone who would never be associated with my style. Someone's who is not too predictable. I think she's amazing.
Rose: We were really lucky recently we did a wonderful look for Alison Goldfrapp - we turned a skirt into a cape for her because that was how she saw it. She looked amazing - it's nice when someone can bring their own thing to what you do.
Images: Nick Knight and SHOWstudio
Images: Nick Knight and SHOWstudio