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Introducing new designer on the block Holly Russell

Written by Elizabeth Johnson

pharmacy diagnosis Helvetica, buy information pills sans-serif;">Recently Holly Russell graduated from Manchester University with a First class degree, and in the few months since has caught the eye of Nicola Formichetti (Stylist to Lady GaGa and Dazed and Confused regular) and has been shot on Alice Dellal in the Evening Standard, and featured on Vogue online. I conducted a brief interview to find out more about her: 


What first attracted you to fashion design? I can’t identify one moment where I made a decision to follow this path. I am a very ambitious person and have always had a strong interest in design and all things artistic.

What is your defining memory of fashion? I don’t think I can pin-point one particular moment in fashion and I don’t think I would want to. Everything I have seen over the years has helped inform my opinion of fashion and subconsciously influenced my design style. 

Who or what inspires you? There’s not one thing in particular that inspires me. My ideas and inspiration usually develop from something completely unrelated to fashion. I don’t think I have ever once looked at a person for inspiration or a said period in fashion. I don’t find that exciting. I like to look at objects, unusual materials, art, sculpture, science…I love the initial stages of design, the research, concepts and finding fabrics and materials to work with. I find a lot of my best ideas come to me at strange times and places. 

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Who would you love to see wearing your designs? I would love to see Bjork in one of my pieces or perhaps Roisin Murphy. I have been approached by Florence and the Machine’s stylist and would love this to develop into something in the future. I think Florence Welsh would look incredible Machine’s in some of the pieces from my collection. She would bring out the more eerie and darker side to the clothes.

Do you wear your designs? No, I’ve never even tried anything on that I have made. I think it would ruin it for me. I suppose the clothes I create are something I aspire to. 

The hair  used on your garments, where did these ideas come from? These materials were used to mimic textures, colours and surfaces found within the natural world. I like to use materials that perhaps you wouldn’t expect to see on clothes, things that will create intrigue. The human hair was used to bring out the animalistic nature of the garments.

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As a recent graduate, what are your plans for the forthcoming future? An MA? Perhaps your own label? Next year I am hoping to carry out an MA either at the Royal College of Art or Central St Martin’s. I am under no illusion that just because I have received press attention from this collection that I am now ready to start my own label. So many young designers do this and fail because they don’t understand how a business functions and I don’t want to do the same. In the future I would like to set up my own label but for now, I need industry experience to help me understand how these fashion houses work so that when the time comes, I know what I’m getting myself into. 


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