Qa

Mollie Makes - - Introducin­g Out And About -

Your job at Lib­erty sounds amaz­ing – how did you land it?

I did a sand­wich course at Cen­tral St Martins, study­ing fash­ion print with a year in in­dus­try. I won a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion run by Lib­erty, which led me to in­tern there dur­ing my third year. It was only sup­posed to be for a few months but I ended up stay­ing for the whole year. When I left I was of­fered a per­ma­nent job af­ter fin­ish­ing my de­gree.

Did you al­ways want to work in print de­sign when you were young?

I was al­ways cre­ative and I did Art and Tex­tiles A- lev­els. I ac­tu­ally found a draw­ing I did when I was lit­tle re­cently – it was of a dress with a pat­tern on it, and the words ‘ I want to be a de­signer.’ I also used to sew with a child’s sewing ma­chine.

How does the cre­ative process work at Lib­erty?

We have a core team of six de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing Emma Maw­ston, the head of de­sign. Ev­ery six months Emma will re­veal the next sea­son’s brief to us, which is then bro­ken up into sub- briefs for us to work on in­di­vid­u­ally. By the time the new briefs come around we’re so ex­cited and can’t wait to get started on some­thing new. She gath­ers us to­gether and gives us the briefs in Lib­erty- print en­velopes.

‘ We’re so ex­cited by the time the new sea­son briefs are re­vealed to us’

Can you tell us about some of the past sea­sons’ briefs?

Spring/ Sum­mer 2014 was all based around the phys­i­cal Lib­erty store, and we were each given dif­fer­ent rooms in the store to cre­ate de­signs in­spired by. One of mine was the Bath Shop – I was re­ally in­spired by the Nesti Dante soaps we sell and their beau­ti­ful flo­ral pack­ag­ing, and cre­ated a de­sign based on them. I also had the Beauty Hall. For this I found a flo­ral print in our ar­chive that re­ally in­spired me, then I went round the store try­ing out the make up as draw­ing in­stru­ments. I looked a bit strange! It was ac­tu­ally re­ally pleas­ant work­ing with make up – foun­da­tion gives a lovely smooth base layer.

Pre­vi­ous briefs have in­cluded the senses for Au­tumn/ Win­ter 2013, and chil­dren’s il­lus­tra­tors for Spring/ Sum­mer 2011.

You also work on col­lab­o­ra­tions – can you tell us about a few of these? Each sea­son’s collection will con­tain four or five de­signs cre­ated with out­side col­lab­o­ra­tors. For the Au­tumn/ Win­ter

2013 collection, which was based around the five senses, we col­lab­o­rated with Jamie Oliver for ‘ taste’. We took him to see the ar­chive so he could pick out de­signs he liked, and it was great to meet him. He’s just like he is on TV – re­ally lovely! In the end he cre­ated a print us­ing his in­gre­di­ents – like a potato print – and we made it into a dig­i­tal de­sign. For ‘ touch’ we worked with a tat­too artist called Mo Cop­po­letta – he cre­ated three de­signs in­spired by Lib­erty that also work as tat­toos.

For Spring/ Sum­mer 2015 we asked jew­ellery de­signer Alex Mon­roe to work on a print. He drew a beau­ti­ful drag­on­fly gar­den, which we turned into a de­sign.

Can you tell us a bit about the Lib­erty ar­chive and how you use it? We mostly use the dig­i­tal ar­chive, which our ar­chiv­ist has cre­ated. It’s kept very se­cret, and you can only look for a few de­signs at a time – she searches key­words for you, such as types of flow­ers. The phys­i­cal ar­chive is based near Bices­ter, and is amaz­ing – it’s full of huge draw­ers full of beau­ti­ful hand drawn orig­i­nal art­work.

What’s you favourite Lib­erty print you’ve ever de­signed? That’s dif­fi­cult be­cause we get so at­tached to them all. We also name them af­ter

‘ I just have to go home and spend the week­ends sewing with Lib­erty fab­ric’

people we know, which makes them ex­tra spe­cial. For Au­tumn/ Win­ter 2013 I cre­ated one based around ‘ sound’ – I lis­tened to Coun­try Gar­dens by Percy Granger and sur­rounded my­self with art ma­te­ri­als, then blind­folded my­self and started draw­ing in time to the mu­sic. My brother came home and thought I was mad, so I named the de­sign af­ter him, ‘ Joshua Gra­ham’, as he loves mu­sic. It’s one of my favourites. I’m also very fond of ‘ Sheree’, named af­ter my Aun­tie, from Spring/ Sum­mer 2014, which was in­spired by Nesti Dante soaps.

Do you also work on per­sonal projects in your spare time? I don’t get a chance to do much draw­ing out­side of work, but I do make lots of things out of Lib­erty fab­ric. We’re sur­rounded by so much beau­ti­ful fab­ric that I just have to go home and spend the weekend sewing with it! I make gifts for people or clothes, such as skirts, for my­self.

Who are your cre­ative he­roes? When you work on dif­fer­ent briefs you al­ways dis­cover new he­roes. Some of

the most in­spir­ing people to me are the rest of the Lib­erty de­sign team – it’s won­der­ful be­ing in the stu­dio, sur­rounded by people pro­duc­ing amaz­ing work. We all love dif­fer­ent things and are in­spired in dif­fer­ent ways, so it’s great to see what ev­ery­one’s work­ing on. Ev­ery sin­gle day is in­spir­ing at Lib­erty!

Where do you like look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion out­side of work? For me, in­spi­ra­tion can come from any­where. Flow­ers and na­ture are a favourite, but I can be walk­ing along and sud­denly spot a cob­bled wall or a great colour that could work in a print. I love go­ing to gal­leries to re­search briefs too – re­cently I vis­ited both the Tate Bri­tain and Mod­ern, and on the walk be­tween them I saw some­one blow­ing bub­bles, and the colours were amaz­ing against the sky.

Fi­nally, what’s the best piece of cre­ative ad­vice you have been given? I can’t re­mem­ber whether this was ad­vice some­one gave me or ad­vice I gave my­self, but when I re­turned for my fi­nal year at univer­sity I re­alised that I’d been do­ing work to please my tu­tors. I de­cided to just do what I loved, and af­ter that I en­joyed my de­gree so much more. Do what you love, and some­one else will love it too.

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03 01 Keigh­ley made her own skirt us­ing ‘ Pene­lope’, a fur­nish­ing fab­ric from the Lib­erty Ju­bilee collection. 02 Lib­erty’s hab­er­dash­ery depart­ment is a trea­sure trove of de­lights for crafters. 03 In­spir­ing bits and pieces are pegged up in the de­sign...

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01 01 A shirt by Ses­sun made from Keigh­ley’s ‘ Jess and Jean’ fab­ric, from the Spring/ Sum­mer 2014 collection, hangs in front of other Lib­erty print shirts. 02 The de­sign process al­ways starts with draw­ings or paint­ings. 03 Prints are fi­nalised and...

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03 01 Keigh­ley stands out­side the front of the iconic Re­gent Street store. A fresh florist’s stall greets shop­pers daily. 02 Silks and swimwear gar­ments from the up­com­ing Spring/ Sum­mer 2015 collection. 03 Keigh­ley’s orig­i­nal draw­ing for ‘ Sheree’,...

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