I know that you’ll walk away feeling motivated and refreshed after reading this interview and seeing this quirky East London studio so I’m just delighted to share it… But first, a little background… I recently had the honor of interviewing Vicki Murdoch, the creative lady behind the Silken Favours brand who recently launched her first collection of scarves at the prestigious Liberty of London. I first found out about her via Liberty and this video, which made me want to learn more since I fell in love with her scarf patterns and colorways. I want to purchase one to frame or turn into a giant cushion for my sofa.
In her video, I caught a glimpse of her work studio and simply had to learn more, and see more, so I approached her for an interview and was delighted when she said her friend and photographer, Martin Zahringer, would be happy to take photos to share on decor8 that haven’t yet been online before so I hope that you enjoy these views. Vicki is an inspiring young woman, just barely 30-years-old, this gorgeous talent is one to watch for sure! Would you like to meet her? Of course you would… so let’s get started, shall we?
Hello Vicki, can you tell us where you are from, where you live now and what you do? Yes, I’m from Aberdeen, Scotland, live in London and I’m a designer.
How did you get into design? I moved to London twelve years ago to start a career in modelling, I was lucky enough to travel the world for a couple of years, living in Tokyo, Cape Town, Sydney and New York but then settled in London and went on to study textiles at Chelsea Art School. When I graduated I worked for a few companies but realised very quickly that I wanted to design for myself, so created ‘Silken Favours’ which started as a bespoke scarf service and I then went on to design my new range.
How did you get to work with Liberty on your collection? I went to their Best of British Open Day in April 2011. They give you three minutes to pitch your designs, they then give their expert advice, which I took, and added a dog scarf to my ‘heart collection’. I was then told they would be in touch. Two weeks later I got an email inviting me back for a second interview and a week later they placed an order. So it all happened pretty fast.
What are you goals for the future regarding your pattern designs? Do you see them in interiors? I would love to design for interiors, For my final degree show piece I created an environment inside a 1960s Cheltenham caravan (photos above), which I named the ‘Catavan’. Every print was cat-inspired – and I used over thirty designs – on upholstery, curtains, wallpaper, flooring, pillows and dresses. I did a short course on upholstery so I could revamp old chairs using my prints. Basically I would love to see my patterns on most objects.
What inspires you about your studio space? I live and work in a large, light-filled warehouse in East London which is shared with five other people. I’ve been here for four years now. We are all creatives and lead busy lives and we each have our own studio space within the warehouse so there is always something going on. It’s not as noisy and party-filled as it used to be, through our own choice and the small threat of eviction.
What motivates you to work freelance? I love being freelance, I was a freelance fashion model for 5 years then a student for four years and now I’m a freelance designer. I don’t think the structure of a 9-5 would suit me. I suppose I’m just used to being freelance so I get on with it. I know you have to put certain amount of pressure on yourself to get things done, but also not to beat yourself up and enjoy life when you can.
What do you do to find inspiration? I find a lot of my inspiration from nature, I had an epiphany once out running in Victoria Park, “All I want to do is dance and draw”, I ran back home very excited and started drawing, the dancing isn’t going as well.
What inspires you about living in London? Lots of things: my friends, Victoria Park, Kew Gardens, the markets, Hackney Farm, the V&A and small up and coming galleries.
What are your favorite interiors and fashion magazines? 1970s ‘Ideal Home’ and ‘House and Garden’, Nest, Wallpaper, Casa Vogue, Amelia and LOVE.
How does a designer get their line into a store like Liberty? The Best of British Open Day, the next one is Saturday, August 20, 2011.
What do you think matters most when it comes to working for yourself? Focus, Determination, Belief and Enjoyment.
What are some trends in pattern design that you find inspirational? Mirrored opulence, nature, animals and anything 1970s.
Thank you so much Vicki for this peek into your life and studio, I’m sure decor8 readers are all going to be big fans of yours now after seeing you in action in your fun space. Thanks again!
(Photographs: Martin Zahringer)