In conversation with Faye Toogood The designer reflects on inspirations and the future
The maverick, multi-disciplinary designer’s studio turns ten this year, and continues to push the boundaries of design. Here, she reflects on her inspirations and what the future might hold
‘Idescribe them as my misfits,’ Faye Toogood laughs. She’s talking about the employees who work at her London studio – but, coming from the British entrepreneur who has defined herself as a ‘polymath tinker’, this is far from an insult. Rather, it’s gratifyingly non-hr-approved praise from the stylist-turned-designer who has made a career out of being a nonconformist. ‘ We have architects, interior designers, product designers, graphic designers, a sculptor and a jeweller at the studio,’ she explains one sunny Friday morning at her home, during a break from sketching and looking after her newborn twins. ‘It’s a place where everyone can mix, so you’ll find a graphic designer working on an interior, or a fashion designer inputting on furniture. I encourage that.’
It’s all a far cry from Toogood’s situation back in 2008, when she ran her company alone at her kitchen table, having created multiple email addresses for herself ‘to make it look like a big business’. Today, the studio in east London’s Redchurch Street is bursting with people, prototypes and project plans. This month alone will see the studio present Toogood’s SS19 clothing collection in its Paris showroom space, unveiling a new interior concept for Mulberry’s Regent Street store, and launching a collaboration ( left) with Bill Amberg for the London Design Festival, whereby a painting by Toogood has been exquisitely printed onto butter-soft leather using a new, state-of-the-art digital technique.
After graduating in both Fine Art and History of Art in Bristol, back in 1998, Toogood worked in the magazine industry for eight years, styling interiors shoots. ‘I think everything I do today is because of that time,’ she muses. ‘Firstly, as a stylist, you only have a photographic image – often without any text – to communicate with, so I discovered how to tell a story visually. Also, because of the monthly deadlines, I learnt how to produce things very quickly – which actually suits me!’ Indeed, Toogood believes that the reason she couldn’t ever see herself becoming an architect is because spending five years on one project ➤