How did this background in making translate into your career?
At the time, if you wanted something interesting or different – or couldn’t afford what was in the shop – you’d make it. To start with I was copying what was going on around me, but then I started thinking, ‘Oh, if I buy some fabric and make this, I’ll have something different to everybody else’. If I was going out on Saturday night, I’d be thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to run something up in the afternoon and wear it in the evening’. And then I became very creative, because it was about finding that amazing outfit. Making clothes was always there for me – I’ve always been really interested in the process. I love the techniques and the ways of making things fit and getting texture.
As soon as I found out there was actually a job where I could do all of it, that was it. I stopped designing for myself quite early on. In a very basic way, my job is to make other people feel happy in what I’ve created. Then they buy it and I can continue. Drawing something on paper and turning it into a 3D piece of clothing, and then someone else taking that and wearing it somewhere seems like such a lovely journey.
Has the therapeutic and expressive side of craft also been important?
Often, children and adults can’t put things into words. And it doesn’t have to be a negative emotion, it can be a positive one. To be able to literally draw that out of yourself is very therapeutic. Sometimes you sit down and feel like you’re in a really good mood and start drawing, then something comes out of you. I have days where I feel like I’m in the right mood, but somehow the connection between my brain and hand doesn’t work that day. I think whenever you start working creatively, you’re connecting with a part of yourself that you don’t always know.