Q and A with Samantha Mark
After winning the Young Designer Competition in 2006 created to recognise talented designers within the Fashion and Visual Arts Industries, Samantha Mark was given the opportunity to exhibit her designs at the prestigious New York fashion week in 2008, and exhibited there again recently in 2009. Her eye for detail and gorgeous fabrics and colours has been put to use to design her line of bags, available through FiveGoMad later in the year. Made from recycled materials and inspired by objects from the past, they are sure to make every fashionistas wanted list.
How did you start out?
I have always been immersed in fashion. Whether looking through pretty pictures of my mother’s fashion magazines, being overwhelmed by colour and texture at my grandparent’s home, or my countless attempts to create my own Barbie fashion line. I started out with a love and passion for the idea to create, which naturally evolved into expressing this through the concept of design and fashion.
Any advice for budding designers?
When you feel and understand exactly what you want to do, just do it! Always carry a note book, you never know when you will be inspired. Be open minded to as many things as possible; art, music, your environment and other cultures around you. This widens your knowledge and understanding of what fashion is. Work as much and as hard as you can. Placements are perfect, they give you first hand experience to get a real grasp on what you feel particularly passionate about.
What has been the biggest thrill of your career to date?
Winning the ‘Young Designer Awards’. I had no idea what the prize was until I won it! It was exhibiting in one of fashion’s most prominent capitals, New York.
What are your favourite fabrics to work with?
I tend to work in wovens, such as tweeds and shirtings, I usually have a strong interest in tailored garments. I have used materials from plastic to paper, both are challenging to work with. You feel a sense of accomplishment when you see the finished garment or accessory. At the moment, denim appeals more and more. A fabric so old and covered in history, yet it always attracts the young. It's stood the test of time and test of durability. Companies spend time manipulating and recreating it for the masses.
Experimenting with new and interesting fabrics for my bags.
What's your definition of British style?
Alexander McQueen. Quintessentially British. An Eastender with a knowledge of Savile Row tailoring and the innovation and interest in the unconventional beauty. He continued to always be inspired by his surroundings of great architecture, history of fashion and anarchic sensibility. Long live McQueen.
Who's hot in British Fashion right now?
Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto. A group of designers showing a great sense of colour, shape and design within their work. I feel more and more people will become aware of their eye and design for detail and their forward thinking.
How did you link up with fivegomad?
I received an email saying FiveGoMad would really like to have my products on their site. I took one look and thought, I could definitely see my bags on there. A company made with passion, who only want to display the best British design talent has to offer, who could say no to that.
Quintessentially British what does that mean to you?
Experimental, History, Style.
Do you have a favourite British design icon?
Alexander McQueen. A cliché to some, but a true icon to me.
What's your favourite place/thing to do in London?
Roam the streets of London finding new places I’ve never seen, or revisiting places I know, looking at them in a different light. London is a beautiful city, bathed in great history and culture, a city that will always be home.
What's up next for Samantha Mark?
An extremely long ‘To Do’ list!
by Liz Appleby