The Name’s English… Phoebe English
Bright young designer Phoebe English is certainly one to keep an eye on at the moment. Having sent her designs stalking down the runway of London Fashion Week in her first solo show earlier this year, Warwickshire born Phoebe is certainly making a name for herself. Her designs are striking and intricate, but also completely wearable. She’s been named as one of the Vauxhall Fashion Scouts ‘One To Watch’, won the Merit Award for 2012 and has won the L’Oreal Professional Creative award. These are tell-tale signs that English is worth checking out. Her collections tend to be heavily proportioned in black and she seems to explore the use of texture and layering to create her looks.
Phoebe’s describes her personal style as “black jumper, black skirt, black tights, black boots, black bag, white hair” which definitely reflects in her A/W ’12 collection: “I think that I am quite introverted and I suppose this could be thought of to be reflected in some of the internal constructions and engineerings that I’m so obsessed with when developing a textiles surface.” Her personality is in every seam of her collection. It’s subtle yet striking, with hints of edginess and eccentricity in varying shapes that aren’t always typical for fashion. She’s used wool, felt, silk and even latex to create some truly remarkable pieces.
“I don’t actually have any favourites at all, I think that after I make something and the collection is over, I feel very disconnected from them as creations. I sort of lose any attachments that I had during their conception. I think this abandoning attitude helps me move onto the next collection. I do however have favourite images of pieces I’ve made, I really love seeing photographers interpretations.”
It’s incredible to see one person so driven and so inspired. “Inspiration always comes from different places each season” says English, but there is a running thread through each of her collections, in the sense that she uses texture rather than print or pattern to make the pieces more eye-catching, a tactic that we think is not only very effective, but very intelligent. Her work is attention-grabbing but it’s not in your face, and it doesn’t shout ‘look at me!’ at passers-by. Like English, her work is stunning, edgy but quite mellow.
English studied at Central St Martins in London, she loves tea, goldfish, The Velvet Underground, and her career highlight so far was working on her final collection at CSM. Her pieces are now available for purchase in Dover Street, so who know where she’ll be in ten years time. ‘I have no idea what’s in store for me and I don’t really care. I don’t think about the future, only the present.’
Photo: Josh Shinner