As you know, I’m prone to a little fashion obsession from time to time. Sometimes these style crushes are fleeting but more often than not, once a brand or designer captures my heart, I’m in it for the long haul. Once such designer is Holly Fulton. Since falling for her playful, colour-popping creations during my first EVER London Fashion Week Holly has continued to wow us all with collection after collection of garments that are simply a joy to behold. In the two years since then, I’ve journeyed to Doha and back with Holly, interviewed her numerous times and was even lucky enough to wear one of her SS12 dresses to the Scottish Fashion Awards. With Fashion Week fast approaching (eek!) and her sartorial star firmly on the rise, I caught up with the designer to find out what’s next for Holly Fulton…
LPA: One of the things I love the most about your designs is that they always look distinctly ‘Holly Fulton’. How do you manage to keep things fresh each season while staying true to your signature style?
HF: My background lies in womenswear rather than textiles so print is a relatively new venture for me. I first used it for my SS10 collection and started by hand drawing all the imagery involved. Its still a very important part for me as it allows you to shape the print it a more engineered fashion round the body hence opening up to a strong graphic statement. I would think my hand drawn approach means the designs are quite personal to me, they are literally what comes out of my head as I don’t plan them too much in advance. Hopefully the evolution of this and the access to newer materials etc that opens up as your business grows keeps the label looking fresh. You grow in confidence each season too and hopefully this is reflected in my work.
LPA: Your AW12 influences included Lady Chatterly, rainbows, Pop artist Peter Max and Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens. Where did you look for inspiration for SS13?
HF: SS13 is inspired by 2 things that happened to me this year; I went to LA and I met Will.i.am. I love the pallette of LA, it wasn’t like anywhere I had been before and through my rose tinted glasses everyone seemed boundlessly positive. The Watts Towers there have been a big influence and without giving too much away, its quite a USA collection in an indirect way!
LPA: With London Fashion Week less than a month away, I can imagine you’re insanely busy. How do you plan on celebrating/relaxing after the show?
HF: After the show is a time to be with your team, family and friends. I like to have a big dinner with everyone who has key in the collection development, sponsorship, and my family, partner etc there. It’s nice to say thank you and if I drink enough Sancerre I sometimes give a speech…
LPA: Who have you been happiest to see wearing your designs over the past year? Is there anyone you’d particularly like to dress in the future?
HF: Its always exciting to see a diverse range of people in your work, I love it when you see people who have bought the collection and invested in your vision wearing the garments in their own way. That gives me a much of a buzz as seeing a celeb in something; to know they have liked what you do enough to want to own it and wear it feels wonderful. Aside from that seeing you looking sensational in the Avalon at the SFA’s was great!
LPA: I think it’s fair to say that you and your fellow Fashion East/NewGen alumni are no longer exactly ‘emerging’. What do you think of the new batch of up-and-coming, independent designers and who do see making it big in the long run?
HF: I think there is an interesting change in the new emerging designers, its been a very colourful scene in terms of print etc recently but the new batch seem to be more minimalist in their approach. Its exciting to see a change and a shift in whats coming out of London and new designers who excite me are Palmer Harding-I think their business accumen and focus will stand them in very good stead in the long run, Lucas Nascimento-I love his fabrications and considered cutting, its quintessentially contemporary and lux at the same time, Sibling-the powerhouse the 3 designers form together, their vibrancy and wealth of experience are incredible. In menswear I like Lou Dalton-its understated but again has that contemporary simplicity that I think has great longevity.
LPA: Unlike some designers, you wear a lot of your own pieces. Why is this important to you?
HF: I don’t see why I would expect other people to wear them if I wouldn’t! I’ve invested a lot of time in the development of the garments visually and I want to know what they feel like on-I want to give the most luxurious finish both inside and out on all my garments, it is a label with a love of the graphic but firmly rooted in the idea of contemporary luxury. Besides I get a good discount.
LPA: Launching an independent fashion brand is always risky and you did so at a particularly difficult economic time. What’s been the biggest challenge of running your own company over the past three years?
HF: I think the main thing that you don’t expect when you begin your own label is the amount of time you spend on the business side. I have grown to love it as it makes the whole thing possible, you can’t fund your vision without a viable business and good sales. The pressure of employing people also brings a different slant to things as you then have an obligation to look after them and it adds a different angle to keeping your business afloat. Its never particularly easy when you start out but it is exciting and learning more about cash flow, planning etc may sound tedious but it is fundamental.
LPA: What can we expect to see from Holly Fulton over the year to come? Any exciting plans/collaborations/projects in the pipelines?
HF: I love the SS13 collection, it feels fresh and exciting to me as it incorporates everything I love; print, mixed materials, exotics skins and several new developments in terms of cutting, accessories etc.I am working with some new sponsors and am hoping to grow the relationships with them over the coming seasons. There are a few new collaborations in the air at the moment but I always play my cards close to my chest on that front, I’d hate to ruin the element of surprise!
On another note, Holly has finally decided to get join the rest of us on twitter so follow @STUDIO_FULTON to sneak a peek inside her world.
Love Ella. X