#M1 talks to / interviews


Holly Berry is a designer that stays true to traditional methods, weaving beautiful comfort blankets out of cashmere, lamb’s wool and merino, all sourced from UK suppliers. Visiting her flat in London Bridge, it is easy to see where she gets her inspiration from. In fact, it appears that she surrounds herself with all things weird and wonderful; antiques, books, fabrics and images adorn the rooms. With the help of the lovely Jude, we sampled some of the beautiful pieces while having a little explore.

Models 1: How did you get involved in fashion & Textiles?

Holly Berry: I’ve always been a maker of things, that’s how I grew up; imagining and making. I then studied fashion and started designing garments, one off pieces and textiles, always with a focus on the materiality and romanticism / emotional connection of the piece.

M1: It looks like a very complicated technique to

learn. What is the process involved in creating a piece?

HB: Weaving by nature is a time consuming and lengthy process, the antithesis to fast fashion and consumer culture. Allot of planning, sampling, maths and set up goes into each piece, but when I’m sampling, designing or weaving, life slows down and I really enjoy the making process. The long process means that each piece contains a lot of energy and thought, provoking an emotional connection with those who value time, skill, and effort.

M1: You use carefully sourced UK suppliers, how do you feel about ethical fashion?

HB:  Sustainability in design and production is a core value of mine, I love that all of my work is either hand woven in London by myself, or made in a traditional mill in Scotland who I work very closely with. I’m proud

to be part of the heritage of weaving in the UK, and aspire to be a new generation of weaver. British manufacture, localization and artisan craft skills are very important to me. I’d like to make the world just that

little bit better! A big aim of mine is to use more and more British wool from British farmers in my work over the coming years; I’m getting quite geeky about sheep breeds and farming ha!

M1: Who/what inspires you?

HB: I’m a hard core colour junkie at heart and take allot of colour inspiration from my own photography from travels, as well as from vintage artefacts and antiques. I’m currently very inspired by the women weavers of the Bauhaus, their contemporary approach and determined attitude and the quality of the work and skill in their creations.

M1: Is branching out into other techniques, or garment design something that appeals to you in the future?

HB: I have a head full of designs and plans for the future, and am really excited about where weaving might take me. I currently make quite traditional textile pieces to showcase my psychedelic use of colour and bold design, but am working towards using and developing these designs into pieces that interact with the body more, as well as making smaller accessories like woven collars. I’m currently experimenting with new colours and strictures in the weaves, which is very exciting!

M1: Also a regular lecturer at University’s and collages across the country, how important is it that students still learn practical and original methods of design, alongside the ever-increasing modern techniques?

HB: I think craft, making, drawing and research, are essential design and creative tools for any student to learn, I am not a pure traditionalist though; I believe that old skills and new technology can complement and enhance a creative practice, and make something exciting, contemporary and relevant. I do believe that artisanal making techniques have a new value in the world as there are so few people still practising, this makes it special in today’s industry.

M1: What advice would you give to young designers/artists starting out?

HB: If you’re starting out on a creative enterprise, make sure you’ve got a good network of inspiring and motivating people around d you, there’s lots of help out there for people starting new creative businesses, join groups and talk to lots of people. Remain focused on your goals and values, and believe in your work. Never try to be like anyone else, make your own trends, and tell a good story.

M1: How do you relax?

HB: As I am a textiles addict, to relax I swap weaving for a bit of patchwork, knit or crochet, perhaps with a cocktail or two! I also love to draw and collage and cooking for my boyfriend always makes me totally zone out and switch off!

M1: If you could do collaborate with any designer, who would it be?

HB: I would love to collaborate with a designer like Helen Storey who uses modern technology, science and a question driven approach in design, to make something completely conceptual and thought provoking. It would also be amazing to work with some traditional British makers on Savile Row, to create a psychedelic ‘Holly Berry’ woven bit of tailoring; 100% British grown, woven and constructed! Imagine that!

M1: What can we be expecting from you this year?

HB: This year I will be busy developing my range and sourcing more special yarns in the UK, I blog about my travels and experiments so you can follow me there. I would also like to make a little film for my website about the weaving process. There’s an exhibition coming up during London Design week, and of course lotsmore time spent daydreaming whilst I’m weaving away in my studio creating lovely things! Busy times in blanket land!

M1: Who would be your ultimate dinner date?

HB: Ultimate dinner date would be Jack Black! Take away curry on the sofa wrapped in my blankets, him making me laugh! I love a good giggle!

To view more of Holly’s work go to www.hollyberryprojects.com 

Take a look at her blog http://www.hollyberryideasdesign.blogspot.com/

Contact for jude is julien@models1.co.uk

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