Yasmin Greener is a product designer for a small company in Cambridge. After completing her Fashion Design degree, she was spotted for her fun, beautiful prints and I managed to talk to her about her world: her favourite designers, her university course and inspirations, and what her job entails.
Follow Yasmin on Instagram and Twitter to see more of her work: @yasmingreener
How did your interest in fashion/print design start?
I think it all started with a natural passion for Art. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t fascinated by different artists and their work – unlike the other kids at school I would be unusually enthusiastic about attending art galleries and exhibitions with my parents. I would go home and flick through art books and try and re-create my own versions of what I have seen.
As I grew into my teens, however cliché, I became obsessed with reading my mum’s fashion magazines and I think that’s where I started to merge the two together. I remember instead of doodling in class, I started designing clothes and accessories (defacing the majority of my school books with my creations) and showing these to my school friends who loved them and asked me to ‘design a look for the next school disco’. I wish I still had these- the horrific late 90s trouser skirt, in some horrific print, I fear was my most popular style!
It’s then I think I decided ‘when I grow up’, I wanted to design. I took every art and textiles course the teachers would allow me to and eventually went on to study at Fashion Design at Uni. I really started to dive into print while at Uni and realised I could merge my two passions of Fashion and art by creating beautiful prints for my collections.
Where did you go to university? Would you recommend your course?
I spent my first year at Ravensbourne University in London, but long story short, after my first year I decided to take a year out and go travelling (which was brilliant). I came back and decided to join a local university and enrol at Cambridge School of Art to finish my degree, without the financial pressures of living in London. At first I was unsure – as the course itself was fairly new and not as well known as my previous course, however it was the best decision I ever made and would recommend the course to anyone interested pursuing their career in the Fashion Industry. In particular my tutor in my final year was fantastic and even made me love working on my dissertation! I also hear they have grown as a course and have lots more space, facilities and opportunities – so I would definitely take a look if you’re interested!
What would you say are your main inspirations for your designs? What keeps you motivated?
As I’m sure all designers say, my inspiration is ever evolving and I take inspiration from all sorts of places, people, art and decades. However, if I’m feeling a ‘creative-block’ I love to take a day to myself and go to a museum, any museum it doesn’t have to be fashion or design related, and try to really look at everything around you. I find this helpful to find new colour ideas or combinations, shapes, patterns or story themes for a new collection.
I particularly love the National History Museum – however for me, this may be just nostalgic reasons! Also browsing fabric markets or shops can spark ideas, make sure you ask for some samples while you’re there – Cloth House in Soho and Shepards Bush market are great places to look. Finally, right now, I’m loving the fashion documentaries on Netflix these can be a great way to get inspired. My favourites are ‘Dior & I’ and ‘Iris’. And if all else fails just paint, draw, design – you will be surprised what you can come up without worrying too much before hand. Don’t leave the first page of your sketchbook blank, be the person that covers it corner to corner.
What are your favourite shops – designer and high street – and why?
This constantly changes as I discover new brands and update my style. However right now on the high street I’m loving Anthropologie, And Other Stories, Free People and Whistles – all these brands have brilliant quality products, which feel unique and special. As I get older I’m much more into building my wardrobe and possessions with good quality, special pieces rather than lots of ‘stuff’.
I also love to shop in vintage stores and boutiques – Ark in Cambridge have a beautiful store and I love Rokit in Covent Garden – you can find anything in there! And fab for inspiration (I particularly love the garish 80s prints)! Designer brands I love: Simone Rocha – for her beautiful concepts, feminine silhouettes and unique fabric combinations; Mary Katrantzou – for introducing me to my love of digital print and McQueen – for the Guts!
What does your job entail now?
I work for a small company, which means I get involved in many of aspects of the business. This is great for anyone looking to work in the industry, I feel this is the perfect place to start, learn and realise what areas you enjoy most. But mainly I work from researching trends all the way to finalising the product for sale. However, the areas I love most are coming up with each seasons stories – so which trends are suitable for our brand and how we will interpret them. And of course the designing of prints and products. Right now, I’m very into working with traditional methods, so just sketching prints and painting, rather than the digital techniques I have previously loved. We currently collaborate with wonderful design companies such as Designers Guild and Collier Campbell, and I think their beautiful painterly style has rubbed off on me!
And do you have any tips for students and people wanting to get into the industry?
It’s hard work – so be prepared for long nights, competitiveness and starting from the bottom (on my first internship I had to make baked potatoes for the team, which went horribly wrong – a story for another day)! Explore every opportunity you are given and do as much work experience as possible – even if it’s a local company or with your university. I got my job now by displaying my work at the final art show at university; my current boss saw it and contacted me asking to come for an interview. So it’s really worth taking every opportunity. But most importantly don’t give up – it’s hard as there is a lot of information out there about how many people want to work in the fashion industry and how many don’t make it, which IS true. But if you have passion, work hard, stay creative and believe in yourself you will make it! See you there.
All photographs and work by Yasmin Greener unless otherwise stated.