Oli Worlds video. Enjoying Rosemary Goodenough Man showing at London Fashion Week Men.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHwHFWAj-Sk&feature=youtu.be
Tara Lee Tillett, Fashion Designer & Owner of Tara Lee Belize
Roaming the showrooms of London Fashion Week Men’s 2016 reveals a sea of creativity as senior fashion designers and emerging fashion designers, among others, display their goods to buyers and press. As member of press/fashion designer while wandering the showroom floor, one display sets itself apart. A mature looking woman at a vender’s table with a rack of scarves and ties behind her. Although she looks a little out of place, the look on her face is very inviting and cheerful. Personally drawn to the accessories on the table, but more so to her, the thought pops in that she can’t possibly be selling these items, she must be just looking. However, upon walking up to her, she quickly introduces herself and her husband, “I am Rosemary Goodenough and this is my husband, Michael” she says in a manner that is super open, friendly and warm. She explains that these are her goods. Humbled to see that she had not hired someone to oversee her sales floor made an even bigger impression that as a more mature woman, she was even designing and displaying at London Fashion Week Men. London Fashion Week evokes hip, trendy, a scene for the outrageous and young creatives, yet here is this older, mature, woman with her darling husband wearing her tie and selling her accessories. Amazing! Enquiring about how she got into the fashion business, she explains that she is an artist for sculpting and painting. But what has this to do with fashion? She digitally transfers her images onto textile, thus creating her ties and scarves for her brand: Rosemary Goodenough. Delving further regarding her take on business in the fashion industry and from a more mature feminine perception, starting a new venture later in life, and her creative passions resulted in the following exchange. Interview: Tara Lee Tillett (TLT) and Rosemary Goodenough (RG) artist and designer of Rosemary Goodenough.
Q. TLT: Why were you interested in the fashion industry coming from a background as a painter and sculpture?
A. RG: There are two types of artist, those who work in one medium and those who cross into many different mediums and I fall into the latter category. My curiosity was raised by overhearing someone at an exhibition of my paintings and sculptures say “if that painting was a scarf I would wear it”. I thought it would be fascinating to see one of my paintings on a moving surface and using Photoshop to change the colours of the painting whilst remaining true to the original composition. It opened another creative outlet to me and I have loved every moment of it.
Q. TLT: What is the difference in your thought as describing yourself as an "artist" rather than a "fashion designer”?
A. RG: Being an artist is very different to being a fashion designer as my passion goes into my original oil painting and my curiosity then allows me to develop that painting into fashion design. It is very important that I don’t paint for my brand I paint because I am an artist. I don’t want to paint to design as that would make my painting more mannered and less passionate and therefore to me less interesting.
Q. TLT: What is your muse for designing your current collection?
A. RG: My husband Michael, always!
Q. TLT: Who gave you the opportunity to sell your goods in their store, how did that open the door for your brand?
A. RG: The legendary Rita Britton was my first stockist which was an incredible honour and because she is so revered in the fashion industry and knows everyone it opened doors for me that could have taken years to find. Many years ago she asked me to have an exhibition of my paintings in her shop so she knew me as an artist and was very interest in me translating my art into fashion items.
Q. TLT: Why ties, scarves and pocket squares? Was it easier? Cheaper? Were you always interested in these types of accessories?
A. RG: Not easier and certainly not cheaper as I only use the best quality fabrics and craftspeople in our manufacturing processes. My scarves and pocket squares are made in Italy near Lake Como and all have hand-rolled hems and my ties are woven and handmade in England. I love accessories as they complete an outfit and can tone down something vivid or bring something very simple to life.
Q. TLT: Why the medium silk, wool, cotton, cashmere? What is it about these textiles that make you creative?
A. RG: Because they are so beautiful and luxurious. I am only interested in quality which has to be superb in order to be included in my brQ. TLT: Being a more mature women entrepreneur in the accessory apparel sector in fashion has it been more difficult and/ or challenging to keep up with trends? And being a woman fashion designer creating men's accessories? Has there been any downfalls to the fashion industry and if so, explain one?
A. RG: Absolutely not, it has been the exact opposite, the best designer are trend setters not trend followers and I was thrilled when Trendstop took one of my scarves, ‘ Mad Red Flowers V’ to Magic Las Vegas as a perfect example of a bang on trend luxury British fashion piece. We have been very lucky and have received some amazing press many of whom see maturity as an asset not a disadvantage as life experience gives one a very refined eye and way of creating. It’s great being a woman creating men’s accessories and huge fun and I’ve never received a negative remark about it, quite the opposite in fact. I can’t think of any particular downfalls in the fashion industry, it’s been a fantastic experience for me, I love it and of course a lot of women buy too for their partners but also for themselves
Q. TLT: What makes Rosemary Goodenough different then what else is out there?
A. RG: Rosemary Goodenough is completely different to everything else that is out there as all the pieces are from my own fine art and no other designer has access to my work except though licencing agreements and collaborations which we enjoy very much. My ties are unique, Paul Alger, international director of the UK Fashion & Textile Association said I’m the first person to redesign the tie for 150 years-It took a woman to do that which is fantastic.
Q. TLT: As I read your bio; you spoke on how it was difficult to create the particular tie and knot you wanted, why didn't you stop, what made you continue?
A. RG: I am a very steadfast person and don’t give up easily especially when there is something at the back of my mind telling me that there is something special there and if I just stick at it and keep thinking and keep working, I will find the answer, and thankfully I did find it.
Q. TLT: What advice would you give other fashion designers and/or artists out there who want to get into the industry or want to start another venture in their life?
A. RG: Try to find someone in the industry you are interested in whose advice you can ask, ideally not a friend so you will get realistic responses to your questions. Think very hard about the questions you want to ask and phrase them neutrally so you don’t try to steer the answer you want to receive and then very, very important, listen to the answer! It is amazing how many people think they have solved a problem by asking a question when in fact, that is the beginning of the solution not the end. The end is the answer and how you then consider its implications.
Q. TLT: Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a creative job and get paid for it? What does it mean to you to express yourself using the arts as a platform of expression?
A. RG: It means everything. I find it absolutely wonderful when someone I have never met and never will meet makes a decision to buy one of my pieces be it art or fashion, it is a huge compliment and I appreciate it enormously. There are a lot of artists out there and a lot of fashion designers and there is no reason why someone should choose my work rather than someone elses so my role is to respect that buyer, never to be careless and do my very very best to make a beautiful piece that will give them great pleasure.
Written By: Tara Lee Tillett
"Artist, sculptor and fashion designer Rosemary Goodenough’s work is the
fruit of remarkable talent, dedication, a love of materials and an obsession with good order. Jonathan Arnold meets her at her (perfectly appointed) Norfolk home..."
Read the lovely Blog by Lupe and Oscar, such fun and this is one of sophisticated Oscar's supermodel woofer friends wearing a Silk Twill Wooferchief by Rosemary Goodenough.
Oli Worlds meets Rosemary Goodenough Man at London Collections: Men SS16
Rosemary Goodenough, fashion accessories designer and artist , shows us the most calming room in her Norfolk home- The Telegraph's Catalina Stogden talks with Rosemary Goodenough.
There is something incredibly calming about this room, a sense of solidity and time and place; it is my thinking space, somewhere I can leave work behind. I don’t answer the phone or have a television or computer in here. I can sit back and contemplate being a person, rather than a driven being, constantly on to the next thing.
I moved here four months ago with my husband. It is an odd place; we think it’s three houses which have been made into one. One is rather grand with a magnificent staircase with sea dragons carved into it, the rest decreasingly so. The oldest part of the building, an old Merchant’s House in Norfolk, dates back 500 years; the most recent to 1715.
There is a blocked-off doorway in this room, incredibly deep cornices and evidence of an old staircase. I thought there was damp behind the walls, but discovered panelling instead covered with wallpaper which, we have been advised, should be analysed by an expert from the Victoria & Albert museum. A far nicer thing to find than rot!
I never use brushes when I paint, only knives, rags or my hands. I like to feel materials, and you can’t get that with a brush. I once heard a fashion insider say about one of my works: “If this painting were a scarf, I would wear it.” And so it began. I now design fabrics based on my art
My mother gave this to me 30 years ago and it was covered in faded old chintz. I had it recovered in denim and she was absolutely furious – although she got used to it. I like to mix styles and periods up. The fan is an anniversary present from my husband – he gives me a different one every year
These were originally covered in woodchip. We took it off to find the most amazing, original wooden planks, which are 500 years old. They were covered in five layers of wallpaper, the most recent of which dates from the 1840s. To preserve it we had it waxed and it seems almost like Spanish leather. Other parts look Etruscan red and arsenic green in colour
I don’t like a neutral palette. These paintings are very subtle; I paired them against the bold background of the walls which is why they work. The watercolour (centre) is by Christine McArthur; the other by Alexander Goudie
You know when Paul Alger, Director of International Affairs at UK Fashion and Textiles, advises to you register your innovative design immediately, you're on to something good. Rosemary Goodenough caused a minor sensation at London Collections: Men with her ingenious woven tie-less ties, becoming the first person brave enough to reinvent the design in 150 years.
'ALONGSIDE THE TIES SITS A COLLECTION OF LUXURIOUS POCKET SQUARES AND SCARVES TO COMPLEMENT THE MOST BASIC OR OSTENTATIOUS ENSEMBLES'
Most people are familiar with her work as an artist, but her designs act merely as an extension of her paintings, reinterpreted through the medium of silk twill. We had the chance to sit down with Rosemary to discuss the origins of her business, her top styling tips and of course, those infamous ties.
Being such an established artist, how and when did the segue into Men's accessories occur?
“The whole process has been extraordinary really as at an exhibition of my Paintings and Sculptures in 2011, someone said "If that Painting was a Scarf I would wear it"! As an artist, I thought it would be fascinating to see my work on a different surface. Our research led us to the great Silk Printers at Lake Como and I was thrilled with the results.”
Can you talk me through the process of making scarves and pocket squares?
“I taught myself how to manipulate the colours in Photoshop, but always remained true to the composition of my own original oil paintings. Eventually I started using the same process with my other oil paintings and in two sizes: a classic 90cm square Scarf and a 45cm square Pocket Square. They were printed digitally as there are so many colours in each of the designs that silk screen would be impossible. The skill of the printers was incredible; it was very difficult to print digitally on silk twill which is why most digitally printed silks are made on satin. For me, it added a dimension of interest and luxury that I felt was lacking in satin. The process was also fairly lengthy as my husband, Michael Waller-Bridge photographed my painting, I made the digital colour changes and he sent the technical information to the printers. We then checked the strike-offs so I can ensure that the colours are exactly as I want them to be and of course the quality had to be perfect.”
In a previous interview, you mentioned that you like to maintain the relationship between yourself and the medium. How did you ensure that a product made in Italy still carries your signature input?
“I suppose it was really through [an] obsessive attention to detail. For example all the hems were properly hand-rolled and are black to denote the frame of a painting. Instead of a label describing the care and content, the name of my original oil painting, the colour variation number and care information [were] printed directly onto the silk and each one carried my signature logo. In the end, it was all about immaculate quality and of course I also designed my logo and the boxes so they are presented beautifully.”
Can you give any advice to the man who wants to try a scarf?
“It's a great way to differentiate from other people and it can [either] be done with a scarf that is very close in colour to their suit or a wild contrast if they are feeling flamboyant. I think for the first time wearer to feel relaxed about it, the simplest thing is to fold 2 corners together then keep folding the scarf towards the middle so it is long and quite narrow. Then, tuck it neatly under the collar and lapels with as much or as little showing as they would like. It's great as it can be either a very smart look or extremely relaxed depending upon the styling of the suit or jacket.”
The 'tie-less ties' were such a hit at LC:M. How did you come up with that idea?
“We were at a dinner party and our host asked if I would design a Tie, [but] he wanted something different. I wondered whether it was possible to design a Tie which, when tied, had a knot of contrasting colour to the blades of the tie. That couldn't be done as it is too difficult with neck sizes etc. but I started to get excited when it occurred to me that the 'knot' didn't have to actually be part of the Tie but could be an accessory for a Tie!”
What's next for Rosemary Goodenough?
“I have just completed my new designs for two long scarves in different widths and different weights. Each design will come in 6 colourways and use my original oil paintings. These two new scarf designs are a new adventure for 'Rosemary Goodenough Man' as I am having them woven in England by the weavers who weave the fabric for my Ties. I am very keen to produce as much as I possibly can in Britain. For the future I would like to consider designing bags and would also love to design Shirts, as I have some very particular thoughts about collars and cuffs; then of course there is knitwear to think about: the possibilities are endless!”
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