An illustrated interview with designer Rebecca Cluett

I chat to Rebecca Cluett about life after graduating, style inspirations and making it as a fashion designer. With amazing illustrations from Claire Kearns, Maria Papadimitriou and Francesca Harris.

Written by Florence Massey


Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou AKA Slowly the Eggs

Now living in Brighton, Rebecca Cluett graduated from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in 2009. Since leaving college she has completed placements with designers Marios Schwab and Halston, followed by setting up her own company – now residing in a shared studio with a ceramicist and milliner, she sells her clothes online and from her Albert Mews Studio in Brighton. I caught up with her for a quick interview…

First off, can you tell me a little about yourself and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
I always had an interest in clothes and fashion and whilst studying Fashion Design at University I found that I had an ability for the technical side of fashion, the pattern cutting especially. This was the route I thought I would take as a career however when I started cutting patterns for other people I found myself being a bit frustrated not being in control of the designs I was cutting. Financial and personal reasons brought me back to my hometown of Brighton where the opportunity arose for me to share the rent of a studio with two friends, a homeware designer and a milliner. This meant that I could start designing my own collections and gave me the space and facilities to produce them.


Illustration by Francesca Harris

Describe your current collection…
This is my first collection since graduating and it is a more wearable, sophisticated version of my graduate collection. The colour palette is more grown up and the shapes flatter the female body whilst being easy to wear. Motorcycle jackets initially inspired the details around the bust on most of the garments but the shapes have been toned down to be more feminine and delicate.

What advice would you give to recent graduates about establishing yourself?
I think you just have to go for it. If its what you really want to do it should happen in the end. I am just starting to get to grips with social networking and think once you have the work it is really important to get it out there as much as possible.


Illustration by Francesca Harris

You’ve done placements with Marios Schwab and Halston – how did these contribute to your style development?
I wanted to work with Marios because I loved the body consciousness and neatness of his designs. I feel that these are qualities I aim for in my work and think I learned a lot of techniques that gave me the ability to carry this out myself. My placement with Halston was just focussing on the pattern cutting. I got to shadow one of the pattern cutters who was lovely and taught me a lot about pattern cutting and generally working in the fashion industry.


Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou AKA Slowly the Eggs
Do you enjoy working in Brighton, what made you decide to set up your studio there?
I decided to move back to Brighton from London to cut down on living costs. I knew I would need somewhere to work and when the opportunity came up to share a big studio with two friends I couldn’t pass it up. I love being in Brighton, especially being right by the sea but I do miss London. Luckily it doesn’t take long to get back on the train so I can be in London whenever I need to be but enjoy the space and setup that I have in Brighton.


Illustration by Claire Kearns

You spent time travelling around Asia following graduation, did you pick up any new ideas there/learn new techniques?
Not so much techniques but loads and loads of photos of beautiful colour combinations and shapes. They have inspired my sketchbook work and print work more than the clothes but I will always go back to the sketchbook I did for reference and inspiration for future projects.

What made you take the decision to turn half of your shared studio into a boutique style shop?
We opened our studio up to the public in May and had a brilliant response so we have decided to open up on a regular basis. We are currently sorting the space and looking for other designers, we look forward to be able to offer an affordable outlet for other designers in a similar position to us.

Illustration by Claire Kearns

Have you found it difficult entering the competitive world of designing during such a tough economic time?
Yes, it is difficult financially and I do have to take on freelance work in between working on collections to pay the bills, but we are always saying that if you can keep going now then surely it can only get better?

Where can we buy your lovely clothes?
The best place to buy them is on asos marketplace or directly from Albert Mews Studio. Visit my website for up to date information on stockists.

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2 Responses to “An illustrated interview with designer Rebecca Cluett”

  1. [...] Sorry for my absence I have been moving house! More on that later but in the meantime I just want to say thank you to the lovely Amelia’s Magazine for featuring me on their website! [...]

  2. [...] I love this dress by Rebecca Cluett, as seen on Amelia’s magazine [...]

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