Young designer Flik Hall may have only set up her eponymous label in 2009, but she has already gained a following for her bold silhouettes and eye-popping prints. About to showcase her fourth collection at LFW, we caught up with Flik to hear all about working with Henry Holland, her fashion predictions for the new season, and why she thinks print design is having ‘a moment’.
You worked with Henry Holland and Giles Deacon – what did you learn from your time there, and do you think their design aesthetic has influenced yours?
I learnt very different things from each of them. Henry taught me how to structure a business and working there opened my eyes to all the other things that that go into making a successful career in fashion design. He showed me you have to focus on so many different angles and that you should not cultivate an exact path for yourself and instead be open to new ideas and projects.
Working at Giles I learnt a lot about formulating prints and attention to detail. I think because we used to experiment with so many materials or objects that one would not directly associate with fashion, it helped to broaden my fundamental associations of what we can draw from. I wouldn’t however say they’ve influenced my design aesthetic directly.
What inspired your latest collection?
I took inspiration from looking into the lives of Mexican families and the altars that they display in their homes. The altars would appear chaotic, but seemed very beautiful to me at the same time. Many are juxtapositions of items such as family memorabilia – they would be filled with dolls of all description in various outfits, some bigger and smaller than others. I was drawn to the interesting spaces shaped in-between the dolls in some of the altars, which was what led me to experiment with porcelain doll arms for my prints.
The hessian I used in the collection is a fabric that plays a great part in (the Mexican families) lives – used as table clothes, clothing and even as bags for collecting sweet corn.
How much do you think you’ve come on since your first collection?
I still have so much to learn, I’m still a novice in many respects – but sometimes that can work as an advantage. I feel as though with every season I manage to channel my ideas that little bit better; I’m also imbued with all that happened in the previous season, and that little bit more capable and confident.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers – where to get started, and how to set up your own label?
Stay focused, work hard, be open-minded and get carried away.
How do you create a print – what is the process behind each one?
With the baby arm prints for my S/S 2011 collection, I found a box of old porcelain limbs at a flea market – I think they were previously used for set design. I arranged them in heaps of different variations on the floor on a white background and took photos. I then cut the images up, put them together like a puzzle, and ended up trying to form abstract shapes to replicate semantic signals, crosses, sound waves, and stained glass windows.
With the rise of designers like Erdem and Peter Pilotto, do you think print design is having a moment?
Yes, I totally think the relationship between print and fashion is very prominent at the moment. I especially think with the scope of so much new technology available, the way we understand print is challenged all the time. I digitally print on leather and until fairly recently only traditional methods were available. These kinds of changes mean there is a lot more to experiment with, and a greater variation in the style of work print designers are creating. I think that both Erdem and Peter Pilotto fuse their cut with colour and print really well, they both treat print so differently.
What are your plans for the label?
To continue with the label, consistent with the ethos with which I started it. I’m expanding the size of my collection this season which is exciting because I normally have about three times more looks that don’t make the final collection. It’s nice because there are always two or three pieces I regret not including – there’s less scope for regret this time around!
Any New Year’s resolutions?
I want to learn something totally new. I still haven’t worked out what it is yet though. I would quite like to learn how to restore antique jewellery.
London Fashion Week is just around the corner – what are your fashion predictions for A/W 2011, or what would you like to see people wearing?
Firstly I would like to see people investing in well made designer pieces that they love, independent of them been ‘on trend’ or throw away fashion. I would like to see more people wearing turtle-necks, vintage undergarments and garments with more heavy duty embellishments.
Name the most inspiring place or person in London…
Victor Wynd’s little shop of horrors The Last Tuesday Society on Mare Street.
Any other new designers you think are ‘one’s to watch’?
I love Lily Heine’s MA collection; the building up of layers is beautiful like an intricate carving. I also really like Scott Arnold’s contrasting use of fabrics in his BA show. I think there will be interesting things to come from him.
How would you describe the archetypal ‘Flik Hall girl’, or is there anyone in particular you design for?
She has a lot of conviction and marches to her own drum.