Interview: Roberts | Wood

Winning the prestigious Merit Award at Fashion Scout can propel a designer’s career to the next level, with previous winners including Eudon Choi and Phoebe English. This level of acclaim could be stressful but SS16’s winner Katie Roberts-Wood is taking the award in her stride. Katie works diligently on her next collection even as we catch up ahead of February’s AW16 London Fashion Week.

‘The Fashion Scout Merit Award has provided me with excellent exposure to international press and buyers, and provided a great platform from which to grow.’

Katie started the Roberts | Wood brand in 2015, just a year after graduating from the Royal College of Art where she studied Womenswear design. Her debut collection ‘Digitalis’ (click here to read our show review) won the SS16 Merit Award and was shown at Fashion Scout to a host of admiring guests including blogger Susie Lau and Fashion Scout's Director, Martyn Roberts.

Already having featured in and ID Magazine, Katie is keen to continue working on her Roberts | Wood brand. ‘What I really love about designing for my own brand is having the opportunity to continually develop and evolve new ideas; having the freedom to work on very conceptual pieces whilst also developing beautiful and wearable garments is really fulfilling.

Focusing on the Roberts | Woods SS16 collection, Katie took us through the inspiration for some of her pieces. ‘The white shirt was inspired by botanical structural references combined with the patterns of growth in plants. The construction technique was developed so that the ruffles were integrated through the fabric of the shirt, instead of being stitched to the surface.’

A highlight of the Roberts | Wood SS16 collection included Katie’s cloud-like organza dresses. Katie achieved this effect through an ‘intensive process of hand pleating, layering and linking without stitching, using pieces of transparent cotton fabric to build up structural, 3-dimensional form.’  Her innovative use of fabric is something that set her apart from other designers and we can’t wait to see more of this in the future.

'The themes of science and nature always run throughout my work.'

The inventive techniques used within Roberts | Wood are inspired by Katie’s interest in science, having initially studied to become a doctor, later pursuing her creative dream of designing womenswear.  ‘The themes of science and nature always run throughout my work at some level. I can tell you that the collection will be an evolution of what came before, but you’ll have to wait to see the collection to find out more!’

With AW16 Fashion Week less than a month away, Katie tells us how she’s getting along with her latest collection, ‘it’s very exciting to be working on the collection for the second season, and for me it’s the most enjoyable part of the process; developing new techniques, experimenting and planning how to show the collection, hopefully we will be able to produce something really interesting and exciting.’

'Keep your eyes and mind open.'

We ask Katie if she has any advice for budding designers looking to follow in her footsteps? ‘Always keep your eyes and mind open’, she recommends. Exceptional talent aside, Katie has taken hold of every opportunity the fashion world has thrown at her and we expect even greater things to come from her brand.

We are proud to announce that Roberts | Wood’s will show with Fashion Scout for a second during LFW next month. 

Fashion Scout for London Fashion week runs from 19th - 22nd February 2016 at the Freemasons' Hall, WC2B 5AZ

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Writer: Elizabeth Renfrey
Photographer: Simon Armstrong
Editor: Fiona Nicholls