“I think the desire was naturally there in many ways right from the beginning. I was sometimes dissatisfied with the clothes I was put in when I was little, and vividly remember redesigning them in my head from the ages of 3 or 4.” says Phoebe English of her passion to become a fashion designer. English, now 25, has taken the UK by storm with her latest collection, which stalked down the runway at London Fashion Week earlier this year. She has so far been named as one of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s ‘One To Watch’, won the L’Oreal Professional Creative award, and has acquired supporters that are eager to see her continue to reel in the achievements.
Having outgrown her childhood home of Warwickshire,English graduated from St Martin’s Fashion Knitwear course in 2010, before proceeding to obtain a Central St Martins MA, in 2011. “Studying at CSM is both a challenging, pressured and yet hugely exciting experience for those talented enough to make it onto the scheme” she recalls. During her time there, English enjoyed builders’ tea, regular viewings of her favourite movie “Withnail and I” and listening to the likes of Jimi Hendrix or The Velvet Underground. English has said that the highlight of her career so far has been working on her final collection at St Martins. Throughout her training Phoebe learnt about self-sufficiency and the ability to move on from piece to piece. When asked if she had a favourite piece English replied “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.”
English now has her own studio, staff, and a stockist in Dover Street Market. With the help of her goldfish, Pamplemousse, and the newest member of her team, Rose, English continues to seek out inspiration for her future collections. “Inspiration always comes from different places each season but I have recently been joined by a business partner. We are now running the label as a pair, Rose acts as the logical side of things as well as being a creative collaborator and muse figure. She has a fantastic and inspiring sense of style and is an excellent barometer by which to judge things by.”
English describes her personal style as “black jumper, black skirt, black tights, black boots, black bag, white hair” and the loving choice of neutral tones certainly reflects in her most recent 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.” English’s personality radiates from her designs in edgy shapes, textured layers and interesting materials such as calico and muslin.
It is clear to anyone that Phoebe English is lively, the epitome of London with some beautifully innovative ideas, not only concerning fashion but culture and conscious as well. I’m sure we will see increasingly great things from the suitably surnamed English.
To see more from Phoebe, check out her website .
Photos courtesy of English’s S/S ’12 Lookbook.