Translating the beauty of carnivorous plants through her designs is the Scottish fashion designer Sarah Richardson Richardson uses these visual representations of wonder and power and embeds this within her surface designs. In light of her most recent feature as part of our Global Young Talent in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art and Design alumna about the beauty and the power of nature, her design process and her advice for future fashion students.
1. What made you become a Textile Designer?
I always loved drawing and illustrating while having a fascination with the fashion world. Therefore, textile design was a dream for me to be able to combine these two passions. Textile design allows me to create that extra layer to fashion through decorative and playful surface designs which can add to the overall story of a collection. Additionally, I also love the combination of digital and craft processes involved in textile design.
"I always loved drawing and illustrating while having a fascination with the fashion world. Therefore, textile design was a dream for me to be able to combine these two passions."
2. Your collection is mainly inspired by nature, how does this take shape in your work and what lead to this source of inspiration?
I was inspired by the bizarre side of nature. Species that seem almost alien to the world through their aesthetics and lifecycle. I chose to focus on carnivorous plants for their flamboyance and devious lives, as they appear like the couture plants whilst acting like monsters. I drew both my visuals and narrative from carnivorous species’ ability to use their beauty for survival. This narrative also reflects my aim of this collection and my practice in general. My inspiration takes shape in my work through the transformation of nature’s ornate surfaces and forms into textile designs. Overall, I aim to create the same impact of the carnivorous plants with my textiles to intrigue the viewer to want to take a closer look and discover the hidden details.
3. What is your favourite piece from your collection and why?
My favourite piece from my collection is a combination of my “Pleated Fantasy” and” Flourishing Blooms” embroidered and embellished prints, as many of my designs are aimed to create a maximalist aesthetic when combined and contrasted. “Pleated Fantasy” is special to me as this was the catalyst for my final collection as it inspired me to be bolder and more playful with my surface designs. This piece allowed me to become more innovative with how I could interpret a somewhat floral collection and push the boundaries of how the aesthetic could take form. “Flourishing Blooms” further captures this sense of a modern take on florals through its painterly qualities and less obvious forms which is contained within a ‘flourishing’ composition.
"“Pleated Fantasy” is special to me as this was the catalyst for my final collection as it inspired me to be bolder and more playful with my surface designs."
4. Can you talk us through your design process and the skills necessary for your pieces?
It starts with creating a bank of exciting textures and unique shapes. I develop these initial designs by hand, mainly through painting and collaging. As it often captures an unexpected outcome it allows my final designs to take on a more unique aesthetic. Developing it further digitally, whilst maintaining the hand-drawn qualities, allows me to be more sustainable and less wasteful. I print the finalized designs onto a suitable fabric which compliments the overall mood I am trying to portray within the design. Many of my designs are finished with embroidery and/or embellishments to really capture the complexity and extravagance of my visual source.
5. What have you learnt during your time at university and what tips do you have for future fashion students?
During university I learnt the importance of trusting your own creative judgement as this is what makes you and your work unique. While being inspired by others and being motivated and advised by tutors, it is important to not be afraid to use your own intuition as this is often when the best things are created. Additionally, my advice would be to try your hardest to not compare yourself to others! It is important to remember there is only one of you and only you can create what comes to you. Our unique ways of thinking are what provide us with an ‘individual aesthetic’, something that is often a worry to discover as a creative, however it is simply what comes natural to you!
"While being inspired by others and being motivated and advised by tutors, it is important to not be afraid to use your own intuition as this is often when the best things are created."
Discover Sarah Richardson's full collection
Words by Reka Dala