London Fashion Week is a time for emerging and established designers to push the boundaries and showcase their new season collections. Taking five up and coming designers from LFW, we’ve highlighted the ones to watch for SS17. First under the spotlight is knitwear designer Caitlin Charles Jones. After studying at Kingston University and RCA, Caitlin went on to establish her own label and debuted her SS16 collection with Fashion Scout at LFW, where she was selected to take part in Boden/ BFC Future British programme and showcase her AW16 and SS17 collections in BFC Designer Showrooms at LFW. Describing her label as ‘colourful, modern & comfortable’ meet Caitlin Charles Jones:
Who inspired you to get into fashion?
I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as I can remember, I used to draw outfits for my friends at primary school long before I knew you could make a career out of it! My mum has always loved clothes though and I think that passion must have rubbed off on me. My parents are definitely my inspiration for starting my own business, they have an interior design business and they’re enthusiasm and work ethic is a real driving force for me.
Talk us through your design process.
I produce all my collections by hand in my atelier in London where I have two hand flat knitting machines of different gauges. I start a collection usually by reading and looking in books – I am often inspired by a sentence or description, which will then form the underlying thread. I then gather imagery and start experimenting with yarns, colours and knit techniques. It’s a fairly fast flowing way of working as my research will inspire my knit samples which will then inspire my sketching, however often this works the other way round too. Ultimately I always aim to produce garments that are clean and simple and not intimidating for women to wear, my silhouettes are always recognisable as ‘real clothes,’ and yet I try to balance this with innovative techniques, thoughtful colour placement and unexpected fabrications.
What does your typical day look like?
I try to begin my day by going to the gym first thing in the morning, although that doesn’t always happen! I’m in the studio by 9am and from there it always varies depending on what stage I’m at within the collection. At the beginning I’m usually researching and drawing and then after that I’m pretty much knitting all the time. When I’m in the thick of production I try to get in the studio for 8am as I’m much more motivated in the morning. I rarely leave later than 7pm as I’m not very productive in the evenings and like to feel refreshed for the next morning, even at uni you’d never find me doing an ‘all-nighter!’
Showcasing at LFW Future British is a big step for an emerging designer, what are your future plans?
Being part of Future British has really moved my business along a lot more quickly than I imagined and showing at LFW is hugely important for my brand. I hope to continue to show at LFW each season and maybe in Paris too next year. At this early stage I’m still finding my feet and working out what’s best for the brand so I’m working hard to build relationships with press and buyers.
And finally where in London do you live and what do you love about the area?
I live in Fulham with my boyfriend above a little antiques shop. I have the best of both worlds really as I love that Fulham feels like it’s own little piece of London with it’s independent shops and restaurants, and my studio is in Holborn so I don’t miss out on the buzz of central London either.