Their second collaboration with John Smedley, husband and wife team- Kirsty Ward & David Longshaw met in the design studio of Alberta Ferretti in Italy after both studying womenswear at university. Covetable, contemporary pieces with a strong aesthetic are the main principles of the brand’s DNA. The collections concentrate on beautiful, detailed craftsmanship for modern intelligent women. We spoke to the designers about their work and the inspiration behind their new collection.

 

How did you get into design?

It boils down really to always having the urge to create and fashion is the perfect medium to express yourself through. We both studied fashion at uni, (Kirsty studied at at MMU (BAhons) then St Martins (MA), David studied at Central Saint Martins (BA hons) and the fashion design womenswear (MA) at the Royal College of Art.We got in to designing together when we met in Italy designing for Alberta Ferretti.

How do you feel you’ve evolved as designers over the years?

We now have 10+years of experience each. We have learnt so much from working for various big luxury brands in different countries and on our own label where we have dealt with every aspect of the process from concept to working with stores and press, it’s given us an amazing insight that we infuse in to our collections.

Which piece of work are you currently most proud of?

Our current collection we showed at LFW, it feels like the culmination of our ideas and processes, combining illustrative embroideries, interesting silhouettes and illustrative jacquard John Smedley pieces.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from in your work?

Every where and anything, we love to fuse together seemingly contradictory themes. For one of our recent collections we were inspired by Dot Cotton (from Eastenders) – a fictional, elderly, fag smoking laundrette worker with a fondness for tabards and the 1980’s sci-fi Film ‘Tron’ . We liked the idea of Dot Cotton finding herself within Tron, doing the laundry for the riders in the game. Think neons in tabards, straps, hems and parka tops (attached to waffle fabric with neon yellow topstitch lines dissecting the pieces like tiny riders). The imagery on the knits had washing pegs with sci-fi plants interwinding.

Do you have a particular process/place you like to work and create?

We usually design together bouncing ideas off each other in our Kentish Town studio in London, surrounded by our archive, art and design books, and some of David’s odd (and rather large) creations for store windows

What do you think is the most challenging aspects of your job?

It’s always fun and challenging at the same time balancing creativity with the business side of things.

What is your favourite John Smedley knit?

We love our Longshaw Ward x John Smedley jacquard wrap tops form AW 18-19, there a really fun take on a great John Smedley classic jumper that lets the wearer interact with the piece and wear it in lots of different ways.

Describe your style in three words.

Creative, fun, wearable

Biggest fashion faux pas?

Too many to mention…but it’s better to take a risk than just be boring all the time.

What is next for you?

We are working on our Spring/ Summer 2019 collection that we will be showing at London Fashion Week in September (we have some really fun John Smedley pieces in the mix)

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