Meet Anna Proctor, the talented print designer who created the unique motif for our Multi Face Tee and Gardenia Dress in the Autumn 18 collection. Based in Oxford, she has designed beautiful, bespoke textile prints for fashion and lifestyle brands for 15 years.
How did you start out in your career as a print designer, and how has it evolved?
I was lucky that I found my passion early on - I had a fabulous teacher for my A-Level textiles class, who inspired me to study Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University. I started out at a fabric suppliers, spent time working at a textile mill, and worked as a print designer for M&S.
I went freelance in 2010; now I create original designs for different fashion and lifestyle brands - including hush - and I launched my homeware line, Jericho Design House, in 2017.
Describe a typical working day…
I work from my mini studio at home. My desk overlooks the garden so it’s nice and peaceful. I’ve tried working in a cafe with my graphics tablet but people often look over my shoulder and I get self-conscious! I start the day with a cup of tea and BBC 6 music on the radio.
One day I could be painstakingly recreating the pattern on a scrap of vintage fabric that a client has sent me, on another I will be painting and tearing up paper for collages. I work well at night so I’ll often carry on in the evening with a glass of wine.
What is your design process?
I start 95% of my designs by hand-drawing or hand-painting. I use lots of different materials - watercolour inks, pastels, pencils. I like to start quickly and naturally; I find it’s best to sit down and do lots of versions, then I can use the computer later to tweak and play with the colour and scale. That’s the wonder of Photoshop - it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. But I like to start on paper, it’s difficult to create the same quality of line as, say, a charcoal pencil, on a computer.
Tell us about the print you designed for hush…
It taps into the figurative trend we’ve seen in fashion - faces, hands, bodies - it’s quite expressive yet pared-back and simple. The design is Matisse-esque - my parents love Matisse and I grew up in a house full of his prints. I also took inspiration from artist Shantell Martin’s large-scale wall illustrations, and the line drawings of designer Justina Blakeney.
I wanted to create a strong, female-centric image, that tapped into that sense of sisterhood. I used a continuous line, without lifting my pencil. At the beginning there were quite a few weird looking faces! Eventually I ended up with three or four different versions that I was happy with, which I drew over in pen and then scanned in. I used PhotoShop to shrink and repeat the pattern for the Gardenia Dress.
How does it feel spotting your designs out in the world?
It never gets old, I still get a buzz. If I’m with my partner I will give him a little elbow and whisper, ‘That’s one of mine!’.