Emma Guilfoyle

A 2012 graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (with First Class Honours!), freelance fashion designer Emma Guilfoyle is one to watch.  During her time at University, the fashion industry was so impressed with her designs that she was shortlisted to the finals of George’s childrenswear competition 2012, and the Karen Millen award 2012; in addition to the prestigious honour of showcasing her collection at London Graduate Fashion Week 2012.  The collection – titled ‘Power, Parliament and Picasso’, was inspired by a combination of Cubism and British Prime Ministers.  Iconic faces and infamous quotes are emblazoned on key pieces, such as ‘We will fight the on the beaches’; with appliqued patches of tweed and sequin embellishment giving the collection a more youthful feel.  So successful was Emma’s collection, it received a six page feature in Total Politics magazine, and was worn by both Lady Gaga and rapper Eve.

More recently, Emma designed costumes for the Northern Ballet school’s latest production, entitled ‘Luminous Junc.ture’; testing Emma’s versatility, with each costume strong, yet tying in as a collection, and in no way inhibiting the dancers’ movement.

Emma is currently residing in Manchester, working as a freelance fashion designer; and I for one am looking forward to seeing what exciting creations she comes up with next.

To find out more from Emma and her collections, head over to her website.



Adam Jones

Womenswear designer Adam Jones has recently stormed into the fashion industry with his captivating designs.  Having studied BA(hons) Fashion at the Manchester School of Art; Adam’s inspiring creations secured him a slot at the prestigious Graduate Fashion Week in June 2013.  I caught up with him to talk about the amazing experience of his very own fashion show, and exciting plans for the future.

What made you decide to do fashion design in the first place?

I’ve always been drawing at any opportunity from a young age, or making things – fruit and vegetable animals etc at school. My grandmother was the only arty one in my family, and really supported me, I would dress my cousins up in her clothes, fur coats and crazy hats and put on shows. I have always surrounded myself with girls, and they’re always dressing up, it just felt like something I had to do, so when it came to college, I dismissed conventional A-levels and took up a National Diploma in Fashion and clothing aged 16.  I just knew.

What was it like showing your collection at Graduate Fashion Week?

It was overwhelming and just a bit mental to have all those influential people looking at stuff I’d made. I got to show at the best of show and Gala shows as well, which was just too much – I was so excited, and terrified something would go wrong! I got to meet Susie Bubble, Hilary Alexander, Suzy Menkes, it was hilarious. The competition element to show at GFW between peers was not so fun, but I guess it’s the harsh reality of this industry.

If you could have any celebrity wearing one of your designs, who would it be and why?

I want the Kills’ front-woman Alison Mosshart to wear one of my leather jackets, I’m a huge fan, her energy is just incredible.  Although she probably wouldn’t be able to move very well onstage in one, she’d have to rock it offstage!  I love Lara Stone but I’m not sure she’d wear any of it, though I think my stuff would actually really suit Pixie Geldof.

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years’ time?

Of course, the dream is to be showing at London Fashion Week; but I just hope to be solely working on my own clothing line from my own studio. I want to have stockists, I want to see the demand for my clothes, not to be just making things without a consumer.  This is not a hobby. I would love to be receiving support from NEWGEN or Fashion East.

To see more of Adam’s work, check out his blog.


Mat Hay Photography

Recent graduate from Edinburgh Napier University Mat Hay had his work on display at the recent Graduate Show. His photographs were eye catching, powerful and I just wanted to know more…

His website showcases his vast photography experience in different settings including portraiture, stunning landscape shots (my fav is the San Diego one) and great ‘movement’ shots of skaters. Mat has been shortlisted for the graduate Futureproof exhibition held in Glasgow and Aberdeen (fingers crossed).

Mat’s graduate project ‘The Messenger’ questions the power of storytelling, persuasion and the workings of religion. His work is so intriguing and held a deeper meaning than the other works on display. He was kind enough to answer some of my questions…

What was your inspiration behind your graduate project (left)?

‘It started with a visual anthropology project I was doing on Varanasi on the Ganges, and the Hindu rituals and beliefs which dominate the lives of the people in that area. While researching different religions, including Hinduism, and reading Van Gennep’s book ‘The Rights of Passage’, I became fascinated with the countless religious stories and beliefs around the world today. This led me to consider how as humans we seem to rely on science and logic to exist but we still have an instinct to believe in some pretty unbelievable stuff. It is a very interesting situation to be in’.

What were the challenges of this project?

‘The big challenge was dealing with such large groups of people and working without a budget. The cast and crew all volunteered their time for free so I tried to get each shot done quickly, particularly in the freezing mid-winter Scottish weather. Everyone was really committed though which was fantastic. The biggest positive was the people and the locations – they made the project!’

How about a bit about your yourself?

‘I’ve been exploring lots of different types of photographic work during my degree studies which has been great. I’ve met some really interesting and accomplished individuals which has really helped to develop my thinking and practice. I think the highlights recently have been working for Nadav Kander then, through that, getting to interview Broomberg and Chanarin who were a large part of my discussion in my dissertation’.

And what are your plans now that you’ve graduated?

‘My plans are to expand this project over the summer. Then I’ll hopefully move back to London to carry on assisting others while starting some new projects of my own’.

Check out Mat’s work on his website and look out for future exhibitions displaying his work. Good luck Mat, with such skills I’m sure we’ll be hearing about your work in the future.

Creative Graduates from Edinburgh Napier University

Last sunny weekend I visited Edinburgh Napier’s University Creative Degree Show 2013. I hadn’t been before but as the underdog of creative university’s in Edinburgh there was a certain number of graduates that caught my eye. Main image – Product Designer Aimi Robertson, Bottom Images – Graphic Designer Sam Dexter.

Aimi Roberston is a graduate in Product Design with a love for furniture design and restoration. Lucky enough to have been on exchange in China for 5 months last year she has great experience and has a fun approach to her work as a designer. Her degree project shows a love for Scottish Industry using Harris Tweed in an interior context. It’s quirky use of Harris Tweed shows the traditional fabric in a new light.

Originally from Inverness Aimi has shown her Scottish roots by using the iconic Scottish Harris Tweed jacket in a bespoke piece of furniture taking direct influence from the jacket with the 2 pocket detailing on the sofa with a modern twist. The bespoke piece has a strong historic narrative showcasing Harris Tweed’s history yet comments on Harris Tweed’s recent resurgence. The sofa uses high class materials yet is designed to be extremely flexible and I can see it fitting nicely within people’s homes. It is a great take on the traditional and ties in nicely with the current handmade market with consumers seeking out hand made, quality items rather than mass made. Aimi’s branded her idea really well even down to the traditional bottle of whisky in the sofa’s pocket!

Sam Dexter’s ‘Red Letter Day Project’ motion graphic piece informs the public about a particular event that is important to the history of Edinburgh. With an interest in philosophy and ethics, Sam chose the birth of the philosopher David Hume and his theory called the ‘Induction Fallacy’. As Sam explained to me ‘Induction Fallacy’ theory implies that nothing in our world can be predicted. In the stop frame animation she communicates this theory-which would usually be quite hard to understand- in a humorous way using dominoes, similarly tumbling but with one rogue domino breaking the rules in an extraordinary way! As her first stop-frame animation and using 112 dominoes Sam’s made this animation with perfect detail and you can watch it here. Sam said that what she likes about graphic design is that ‘you can communicate with the audience on so many different levels and make a subject like The Induction Fallacy something quite light hearted and easy to grasp. I like to think my work is light hearted and uplifting. Since this project a lot of my work has been motion graphic based, I really enjoy film and projects that involve interaction and involvement with the public…’. Her attention to detail is incredible! Make sure you have a look at her ‘Red Herring Route’ intervention project which made people in Edinburgh look, and see, the city differently from usual.

Good luck to both Aimi and Sam!


Kirsty Baynham’s colourful illustrations

Strolling around the art boutique shops of Edinburgh I came across Kirsty’s bright, colourful illustrations and, as a massive fan of everything geometric, I loved them. Kirsty graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 with a degree in Illustration and has certainly put her skills to good use producing allsorts of goods from gift wrap and cards to Giclee prints and screenprinted bags.  She has an individual style teaming animals with intricate geometrics, detailed patterning, colour blocking and a playful manner with shapes. Her strong individual aesthetic has a definite identity yet is commercially successful and has been key to her success as a freelance illustrator.

I contacted Kirsty and she kindly answered some questions about her design work, her experience so far and gives her invaluable advice to freelance designers.

Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 I have been working as a freelance illustrator. My business ‘Prism of Starlings’ is a range of design-led paper goods, prints, textile and stationery items. My current focus is on designing a small collection of hand-made artist’s books and limited edition zines.


How have you found working as a freelance illustrator?

While it’s hard to get started as a freelancer, it’s a nice feeling to move forward in this discipline. Looking back on the past year, I found it much more of a struggle to get work at first, but once you develop a portfolio and contacts, opportunities do arise. I think most illustrators would agree that their artistic style stays fluid, to a certain degree, long-term, so even though I have developed a more definitive style over the past year or so, there is still a degree of flexibility which enables me to still think of this job as a novelty.

How do you start an idea? What is your inspiration?

I find myself making lots of lists, to make sure every idea I think of is documented in case it develops into something. I always have an aesthetic in mind which I want to convey before I start drawing, and it generally comes from something abstract: either a combination of colours I’ve observed, a shape I want to experiment with, or a visual hybridisation I’ve been able to photograph. I’m constantly looking for random juxtaposition of styles to take inspiration from. I believe all design work needs a level of ambiguity, and I like to create this by giving each design a backstory, which is vaguely reminiscent in the design. Concepts don’t always need to be loud, but I think they inspire a more enthusiastic approach to each piece of work.

Are there any times that you have been stuck in a design rut… do you have any advice?

It’s easy to fall into a design rut, and it’s easy to take the wrong route when trying to escape from it. I think the secret is actually to avoid changing your style/routine sporadically or for the sake of necessity, and instead to be as objective as possible and make changes in a methodical manner. Different approaches suit different people, but from my experience – go back to the basics, do your research, familiarise yourself with the progress of your work over the past few months by literally laying it out and re-evaluate the main priorities of your design work. Ask yourself, has your work become too heavily commercial and you no longer identify with the aesthetic? Are the restraints of your print method or colour scheme restricting your creativity? Are you thinking too much about how your work fits into current trends and have lost an identifiable element that makes it your own? Good design is fuelled by enthusiasm, simplicity and direction, so it’s important that you’re not putting so many restraints on your work that it becomes laborious.


I am completely in love with Kirsty’s notebooks – why buy a normal boring run of the mill notebook when you can have one of these beauties?!! Her Etsy shop is definitely the place to visit if your looking for any quirky stationery, presents for friends and fab unique prints. I’m already imagining my future house glittered with her beautiful prints. Her portfolio is on her website along with her contact details. Have a look and nap yourself a unique notebook or one off print!