Who is the biggest influence in your life?
I suppose the biggest influence in my life was my father. He was the strongest person that I ever met. If a painting wasn’t going well for whatever reason, he would persevere and push through. I saw the way he carried on in spite of things going badly, he had a big influence on me. I think I’m shaped by everything that happens, however little or big. The most important thing in my whole life was having my son. Everything is different with him in the middle of it. That’s the most precious thing that has ever happened to me, because it’s not down to me. Yeah, he’s the one really.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from everywhere, and sometimes the most insignificant things are sources of good ideas or imagery, even if it’s an ampersand, joining words in a poem, silly things or music. I find I often get more ideas when I’m reading rather than looking at things. I mean I love looking at clothes, looking at old clothes, any clothes, but if I’m reading something good I’ll have pictures in my mind that come from nowhere, and that I enjoy particularly. It makes me feel like I’m moving forward.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope as happy as I am now, but much richer! I think my biggest challenge are things to do with self doubt. Things to do with running the business, or believing that what I have to offer is going to be wanted and well received. Part of overcoming this is to persist and continually look for ways to make yourself interested again and again. If I’m interested in what I’m doing, it’s catching, but if I’m detached from it then it doesn’t have any life in it. That challenge of buying into self doubt, that’s something that has to be met with resilience.
"That challenge of buying into self doubt, that’s something that has to be met with resilience."
What does a typical day look like for you?
It often changes, I get up early because I still do some of the school run. I have a cold shower after my hot shower, I always have a small glass of coffee made in one of those Italian things that’s really strong. I often walk to my office or I get the bus. I draw stuff, I take my drawing pad everywhere. I do these things because they make me feel good, those are my little rituals that I find very grounding.
Tell us about the early days; what was your vision when you set out?
When I first started my label, as we used to call it in those days, it’s like I had something in my head that was waiting to come out. I had this image from various novels of how I imagined a young woman would look, It was a mixture of demure, thoughtful, wild and sexy.
Which matters most to success?
I think persistence is the most important thing for succeeding. Talent is obviously wonderful, and ambition is useful, but there’s something else, a driving force and that’s continuing regardless.
"Persistence is the most important thing for succeeding in accomplishing something."
What keeps you up at night?
Mostly having a good time, being out, going to a party or watching a film. Very occasionally wretched feelings make me not able to drop off. Usually it’s just good things.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
I hope what makes my work seem different is that I draw everything, everything is written by my own hand, there’s a continuity and it’s not computer generated. I think that makes it have a liveness and I’m very careful to make sure that it hasn’t been homogenised by technology. I like the flaws of the human touch. How do I show that I care about people? In the end the most important thing in the world is love, and that’s how I show it, with words on clothes, it’s a way, it’s a medium, that’s my kitchen, it’s where I make my stuff.
"I’m very careful to make sure that it hasn’t been homogenised by technology. I like the flaws of the human touch."
Do you remember the first pair of Cutler and Gross glasses you bought and do you still have them?
The first pair of Cutler and Gross glasses I bought was about 15 years ago, I just remember they were really dark brown tortoise shell. That was a big deal buying those and they were just fantastic. There's something about Cutler and Gross glasses, they just have this real glamour and authenticity, a bit like going to Saville Row and having a suit made. They have this kind of classy kudos and film glamour to them, I’ve always loved them. I used to see Tony Gross around and knew him to say hello to. The whole Anthony Price fashion world, when I worked for Vivienne [Westwood] was much smaller and he seemed very much in it. I think I was aware of Cutler and Gross for as long as I’ve been interested in fashion, which is 30 years.
"There's something about Cutler and Gross glasses, they have this real glamour and authenticity, a bit like going to Saville Row."
The favourite thing about the British?
Their nuttiness, maybe.
It really varies, Picasso, David Hockney and my Dad, so many really.
Favourite style icon?
Rimbaud, the poet not the superhero.
I like all of Jeremy King's restaurants, the Wolseley, I like Fischers, all his places are cosy. I like Hardies over the road, its great.
How do you escape from the fast paced world?
Reading a book is always a good way of escaping or going for a walk, doing something for somebody else. Sometimes I find taking action is a much more relaxing and calming way of escaping than trying to actually escape.
"I find taking action is a much more relaxing and calming way of escaping than trying to actually escape."
If you could choose, who would you like to have dinner with, dead or alive?
What is the first thing you did that you were proud of?
I raised lots of money for the world wildlife fund when I was about 10, I collected all these old clothes and had a jumble sale and raised £70 which was a lot in those days. I was so proud of that because I had an idea, set out to do it and did it. I'd forgotten about that actually.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
I’m more of a night owl.
Botox or detox?
Your guilty pleasure?
Shades indoors yes or no?
Well, yes for looks but I’m really short sighted so if I wear shades indoors then I just feel totally ludicrous so I have to take them off, in spite of the cool factor.