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Interview: Charlotte Simpson

Monday 13 August 2012

In an area of London where the buildings are untouched white and the local bakery and bookshops exude an almost vintage decadent take on the city, I stomped through the area like a lost Dalston boy to meet Vauxhall’s very own ‘One To Watch’ this season: Charlotte Simpson. The beautifully presented designer looked right at home in these polished settings, letting me see her world like I’d won a golden ticket to a finer side of life.

“My first interest in fashion came from when I was young, which is mostly coloured by my mother. She said I always used to follow her around shops touching everything she did. She’s very good at and art and had a good eye, so this caught on.”

There’s never a correct formula and tutorial for how a graduating designer can make the Olympic transition to gold medal status in the industry, but Charlotte’s investment in other designer’s world nurtured her own.

“I had a year off in my degree to explore, so in London I worked for Julian McDonald for six weeks in the run up to Fashion Week. There was a LOT of embroidery which was great, and of course I got to see the show! Then at Amanda Wakeley, we focused more on the pattern and background of a collection rather than the garments themselves. This was another invaluable experience as I got to see fashion as a business. Going to New York to intern for DKNY was also amazing, obviously because it was in New York, but it enabled me to see a much bigger company and how they operated.”

Charlotte’s aesthetic screams out minimal drama, with sharp line dresses that have sci-fi simplicity but absolute decadence about them too. Capes look classic but cutting edge and a clean dress has sparks of embroidery that makes something loud out of a delicate creation. In the likes of metallic white, rusty pinks and vintage gold, glamour has been given an alternative touch.

“My aesthetic comes out as minimal with that edge that captures your attention, and with me that edge is the embroidery. I like it to pack a punch! I also like the clean minimal look because you can’t go wrong with that; it always looks classic and elegant, and can be interpreted and involved in any woman’s wardrobe, whether they’re early 20’s or 60’s. Minimal has a wide range.”

Vauxhall Fashion Scout are presenting Charlotte as London’s ‘One To Watch’ at next month’s Fashion Week, allowing her embroidery to dazzle a brand new crowd of bloggers and journalists that are bound to be electrocuted by the runway. For Charlotte, this collaboration has been a really important stepping stone too.

“It’s really difficult as a new designer, but there are people out there keen to help new talent, and routes like Vauxhall are one of a kind. There are so many new designers in London who are all trying to do the same, but what makes London exciting is that it’s all in their own different ways. Everyone is very supportive of each other.”

So how does a designer look upon the London lifestyle and crowd, particularly the other side of the city where party monsters lurk at night in all sorts of sequins?

“Whenever you go out somewhere you can see someone doing something unique and interesting, and that never gets boring for me! Even if it’s something that’s completely not my style, I really applaud that person for thinking “I’m just going for it.”

Life looks embroidered with success for Charlotte and it’s only a matter of time before the stars are lining up to wear her collections. “

going for it.’r thinking ‘imme,ins? London lifestyle and crowd, particularly the other side of the city where party monsters luI’d love to dress Emma Stone or Kate Bosworth, they’d be high on my list.” So Emma and Kate, if a copy of Spindle is on the night bus, put down your subway sandwich and get your people to call her people!

Words: Charles Matthews