Where do you take your inspiration from when embarking on a new creation?
Travel, especially in South East Asia. A lot of my designs are based around handwork, and manipulating fabric, so it is very important for me to keep learning new methods to apply to my designs. With so many different cultures within Asia, I find it very inspiring to research into their techniques and traditions, which have generally been passed down from one generation to the next, and then try to adapt this in a modern approach.
The rest of my inspiration I would say mainly comes from the fabric itself. Each fabric has its own unique feel and style, so generally I can sit for a few hours just playing with the fabric to understand it before it naturally takes on a life of its own, which then translates into my creation.
What are your three favourite places in Shanghai?
Moganshan art district (M50.) - a big mix of local and international artists and galleries, it’s a great creative hub to visit if you are in town. Also if you are a lover of street art like me, then the graffiti artwork along the walls is a definite must-see.
1933 building - This building used to be an old abattoir, and is a landmark building in Shanghai. It’s a really interesting space to visit with a fascinating history and amazing architecture.
Our studio is located on Yongkang Lu, a really quaint area in the former French concession area. I love how the street has a very European feel with the cafes and bars all around, yet turn a corner and you can immediately be standing next to the wet market. It’s a perfect blend of old and new.
How do your customers respond when encouraged to get involved in the design of their piece?
I find that a lot of them are more creative than they realise. Generally they begin with simple aspects such as colour suggestions and added trims, but after a little coaxing I find that they start to become more open and quite sure of what it is they like and don’t like. It’s then an interesting challenge to try to incorporate this, whilst still keeping the Abandon essence in the product.
Who would you love to see in your designs?
Agyness Deyn. Gorgeous, quirky, stylish, and oozes fun. A true Brit at heart, and she has the ability to wear anything she wants, yet still keeping her own sense of style. Also she is from Lancashire, where I also grew up, so that’s also a plus!
Looking ahead, will your upcoming autumn/winter collection see you expand into other accessories?
Most definitely. I currently design for another brand Peony Rice which I am involved closely with, and recently we collaborated on a project together which involved a range of head pieces. So I also hope to develop our own fun range involving lots of fabric twisting and playing.
I also have had lots of requests from male friends asking me when I will be developing a men’s line, so this is an area I really want to branch into at some point. I might have to save that one for 2013 though!
Abandon Workshop's capsule necklace collection is now available at AnyShopStyle.cn. Click here to see the full collection.