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Seeking the Exotic

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Before choosing the starting point for my next season’s prints, I wanted to find out what my inspirations and fundamentals really were as an individual, not just as an accessories label. After making a list of the main things that truly interest me, ‘Detail’, ‘Travel’ and ‘Experience’ were the main headings that transpired.

What these really mean are ‘Noticing’, ‘Understanding’ and ‘Appreciating’.

Noticing the everyday details that usually go unnoticed. Understanding why things are as they are (i.e Traditions, Cultural symbols, representations of social status). Appreciating the places and objects we see. Taking time to look beyond face value.

I do this analysis seemingly fairly regularly, and believe its important to question and evaluate what it is that really gets one going when putting together an inspired collection each season.

With so many designers working with the same goal, it’s increasingly important to set yourself apart. I can only see that this is possible by really focusing on what you love. It’s certain that a strong dedication and fascination with a subject is apparent in the end results, but also makes the design process so much more pleasurable!

Working freelance but also producing my own collection, I’m at a point that I have to be personally creative under my own name, whilst producing commercially successful work at the same time. This is not to say that one compromises at all at any stage, but of course, fashion has its trends and colours, and I have mine.

When setting out earlier today in search of a theme for next season’s collection, I decided looking at the things that surrounded me was as good a place to start as any.

Previously I have done this exercise with my bookshelf, which told me a lot about my influences in art, design, society and culture. This time, whilst on a simple jolly around my English home I noticed, understood and appreciated a lot more of the items that filled it. And the characters they belonged to.

I am always intrigued to learn new things about myself. When looking at each of my belongings, it’s clear that my past experiences are reflected in each piece. They raise the questions of “Why have I bought it? Where did it come from? What significant meaning does it have, if any?”.

I live in a shared space, and each of us has made a different stamp on the place, bringing small additions of our own tastes and personalities. We are all from different backgrounds, but the one main thing that draws us together is travel.

As I look around my kitchen shelves stacked with everyone’s teas from around the world, colourful spices that liven our culinary experiences,’ and beautifully decorated Italian biscuit tins, I notice that these all sit next to our assumingly ‘unexciting’ breakfast tea, sunflower oil and hobnobs. Seemingly ‘uninteresting’ because to us they are everyday occurrences. Everything “British” in our home is matched with an ‘exotic’ buddy. (Even me!)

 


The idea of bringing back holiday souvenirs was one that I never particularity cherished until I started going away further afield. I now appreciate these memories from “glamorous” far away countries, and like that I get to see these from my closest friends also. Not only do I experience their memories, but appreciate that I have many interesting and eclectic objects adorning our home that I can admire and take inspiration from daily.

 

Looking at the fond selection of travel books on the shelf above our good old Penguin novels, and the jeweled glass jug from the “Far East” that sits next to what was my grandmothers green glass fish ornament, I realize that our lives and homes have become subconsciously enriched with diverse mix of multi cultural pleasures.


Whatever it be, whether we frame a cute postcard, buy a piece of vintage clothing or have a bowl full of delicately painted Ukrainian  Easter eggs (Pysanky) acting as a book end to a stack of Vogue and Architecture journals, we are making a statement about what we’ve seen, where we’ve been or where we came from.


Each of our belongings reflects our tastes, personality and sometimes sense of humour. These are all somewhat inspirations of who we want to become. What we represent.

We live in a world where we have many sources of information to hand, and its easy to forget that everyone else can have it too. To seek one’s own opportunities and experiences, and stake out what is actually inspirational to each of us, is to me, what brings about a true original style. 

Hope this has inspired you all to seek out something new this weekend!

Thanks!

Gina X

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