Meet Millie – our Junior Designer, who has been with us at Isabella Oliver for 4 years. As the creative mind behind our printed styles, we asked Millie about her design inspirations, the printing process and what she loves most about her job
Tell us about your role. What are your main responsibilities?
Once you design a print, how does it then get made into a fabric?
So, there are a number of different ways that the designs can be printed on to the fabrics. If it’s a simple print with a few colours, we tend to use cylinder printing, where you can dye the fabric to be a base colour and then print polka dots or whatever the design may be on top with either reactive or discharge methods, depending on how dark the ground colour is. If it’s more detailed then we’d use digital print, which is where all of the design is printed on to a plain white fabric out of, essentially, a very large computerised printer. The digital process is cleaner as it uses less chemicals and energy, and a lot of our prints are more detailed this season so we tend to use this method more.
How did you get into fashion design?
Did you always want to do print design?
The degree I studied at university was fashion design which didn’t have much focus on printing techniques, so that part of the job came when I started working. The head designer asked me to do some simple star and polka dot prints and I realised that the process came quite easily to me. I started to teach myself to design more complicated artworks and now that I have the skills, it has grown into an integral part of our collections.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Where do you look for inspiration?
We go out to the shops, mostly vintage shops and look at the prints, and we also look at all the catwalks for what trends are coming out. Each season there’s always a definitive thing, like this season it’s animal print again and 70’s motifs. We also go to exhibitions and we take inspiration from artist’s colour palettes and painting style or geometric shapes from more abstract works. Natalie will also give me creative direction. She’ll often give me a starting point like, florals or geometric and then I will go off and design some pieces.
What’s the best thing about working at Isabella Oliver?
I think everyone here would say the same thing, but it is the people. The team I work with are amazing, it’s so nice to work with so many creative people and to be able to delve into other departments. Having the opportunity to speak to lots of people about your work is very helpful and you have such a wide audience to ask opinions from. Everyone is so supportive and friendly, we are like a family. It’s wonderful working in a small company that allows you to be involved in many extra projects and learn from a lot of very talented people.