Sunday, 26 August 2012

Interview with Shireeka Devlin

Shireeka Devlin Fashion Designer Interview

Hello Shireeka, would you like to introduce yourself to my readers?

Hiii, well I'm an Irish print and womenswear designer living in London. I have this ridiculously insane obsession with colour and lots of it. Seriously I can't control it. I love designing and making exciting clothes and prints. Clothes that you just want to stare at all day and that completely mesmerize you. I get really over-excited about new projects, well I get over excited about a lot of things but especially new projects with new sketchbooks that have white pages that I can just completely go wild on. And I talk a lot.

*Pours Shireeka a glass of water* Calm down, eh.

Talk me through an average day in the life of you? (And take your time now)

Haha okay well I get up put on some Sean Paul (guilty pleasure), get ready and head to work as a sales assistant in a clothes shop in East London as even aspiring fashion designers have to pay rent. Depending on what hours I am doing I will usually spend every spare minute I can working on my own personal work whether it be researching, drawing, designing, learning new things on Adobe (I'm a bit of a geek with it) or freelance work for different companies which I love doing as I get to meet so many different and amazing people. Then on my days off I will usually try my best to see my friends who are mental and I also try to Skype my mammy in Ireland.

Describe yourself as a kid?

I suppose I was pretty much the same as I am now; loud, extremely chatty and determined.

Has much changed now that you are fully grown?

I think I am less naive now which has made me even more determined to get where I want to be.

You recently graduated from London College of Fashion and we will talk about your fabulous graduate collection shortly, but first of all, I'd like to know what influenced/inspired/motivated you to pursue a career in fashion?

From as far as I can remember I have always wanted to be a fashion designer. When I was little I was always drawing clothes. My parents still have heaps of sketchbooks full of drawings from when I was like 8 years old. One day my mammy said "you could be a fashion designer with all those drawings" and I think it just stuck and has been my passion ever since.

Oh dear, so your mammy PUSHED you into fashion!!!

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Could you have happily gone in a different direction, or has fashion always been the only option for you? Ya know, cos of mammy.

I could not imagine ever doing anything different ever. I was lucky to know what I wanted to do from a young age and have such amazing support from my family in doing that.

Well, that does sound nice but I might still have a word with your mammy just to make sure that this is what YOU really want.

So your graduate collection is pretty special, and in your own words is inspired by optical illusion art. What I instantly thought when I looked over the pieces was that they were for want of a better word... BANANAS! I really hate the use of that word in pop culture (as it's often used to describe things that aren't 'bananas') but I think it's the perfect word to describe what we have here, so consider it reclaimed! And what we have here is some outrageously fun prints, super bright colours, but what looks like totally wearable pieces. For sure, you're going to stand out on the street wearing a Shireeka Devlin number, but what's not to like about that! So I'm sold on this instantly. But enough about me, I know nothing. How would you describe your own collection?

Hahaha thank you so much! I really like the description bananas I think I might have to steal it! I would describe it as a really fun and exciting explosion of colour and print. It is a collection that is interesting to look at as well as being beautiful and that you can find something new every time you look at it! I wanted it to be visually and mentally stimulating. There is something in there for everyone I think, you just have to dig deep and really look at the work. I like to keep my silhouettes really wearable and simple as I want it to be all about the print and have this amazing canvas for lots of colour!

How many hours would you say went into what we are seeing now?

It was my Final Major Project so I worked on it for nearly a year including my concept proposal, research, drawing, toiles, samples, everything! I put as much effort and work into it as possible.

It looks major, trust me.

Where did you find inspiration for the collection?

The inspiration came from optical illusion art.

Oh yeah, I already asked that didn’t I. Go on…

That "things are not always what they seem". To create the optical illusion prints I took photos of lots of random, mundane objects from my friends' rooms and just went crazy with hand drawing and CAD. Creating something extraordinary from the ordinary. I wanted everyone to be able to wear it so that’s why I made the silhouettes - which are inspired by menswear and the 80's - easy to wear with lots of leggings and a pair of socks so even someone who is scared of colour can add a little bit to their wardrobe.

If you could pick one celebrity to style in your Shireeka Devlin prints, who would you choose and why?

Oh I would really love Gwen Stefani to wear my collection. I love her pure cheeky style which is extremely fun but she always looks absolutely stunning.

We need to make this happen. I’ll give her a call!

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So where do you go from here? Oh and why do you not have any mens tees? I'm feeling discriminated against somewhat.

Well, I would eventually love to start my own brand and because I am still young I want to do that gradually and meet lots of people and do lots different things on the way and yes mens T - Shirts are definitely on that list!

Also, I'm going to need you to promise that when you do get around to doing a mens tee that you incorporate a few wasps into the print! Deal?

Haha I think I can arrange that!!

Awesome. If you could have drinks with a designer of your choice, who would you choose and what would you talk about over your glass of lambrini?

Manish Arora definitely because I think our conversations on colour would be endless.

A guilty pleasure you can't seem to quit?

Apart from my love of Sean Paul's music maybe that I make my toiles in tacky printed fabric so I can wear them.

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Which item of clothing in your closet gets most wear and why?

I wear more of a print than a certain item of clothing as I have quite a large collection of clothes! Leopard print is one of my favourite things in the world and I can't stop getting things that are covered in it, I even have it tattooed on my arm!


A song that makes your heart skip a beat?

'Bloom' by Pogo.

If the world were coming to an end and you were allowed one last kiss, who would be lucky enough to land on your lips?

Rico Genest. I think his tattoos are beautiful.

Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question?

What is your favourite colour?

I’ve recently fallen in love with yellow. BRIGHT YELLOW! I think it is a great colour that really pops! But I don’t know if I’m ready yet to rock it out properly in its true state, so I’ve instead filled my closet with a lot of dull (safe) yellows and mustards - which I like a lot. I find those colours oddly comforting. I also don’t know what I’m talking about.

What never fails to make you smile?

Spongebob Squarepants!

Thanks Shireeka!

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