Textile and jewellery designer Vanessa Harrington’s beautiful bespoke jewellery (including her fabulously nostalgic ‘Typewriter’ pieces, cast from 1940s Remington typewriter keys) and textile prints for fashion and interiors are inspired by her extensive travel diary, film noir, vintage fabrics and antique markets. Since graduating from Loughborough University she’s assisted stylist Mark Heyes and designer Gareth Pugh, as well as set up her own textile company, Vanessa Harrington.
WHAT WERE YOU AMBITIONS AND ASPIRATIONS AT THE AGE OF 26?
I wanted to have my own business by the age of 30. I always thought I would work for myself but decided that could wait until I hit 30. I also wanted to move to Paris, which I will do one day.
PICK A WORD BEGINNING WITH 'B' THAT SUMS YOU UP.
Bonkers. I think I'm boringly normal but a lot of my friends say I'm a little mental. I just caught myself dancing while hoovering so I now agree.
FOR EACH LETTER OF THE ALPHABET PICK A WORD FOLLOWED BY A SENTENCE THAT INSPIRES YOU.
There is always a tale to be shared amongst my friends and 13 million other people thanks to Facebook and Twitter.
The Greek name Vanessa means butterfly, a name invented by Jonathan Swift. Coincidentally birds and butterflies are the foundations for a lot of my print designs for fashions and interiors.
A word that is not used enough.
I love food and I love making it, baking it and eating it. There’s nothing better than getting around the table with good friends talking about life/love and having a good laugh.
It’s where I live and a slice of my type of London life. You can often find me in Bar 98, Night Jar or Shoreditch House.
My mum Mireille is French and my dad Maurice is Irish. I had a very lucky childhood being around inspiring people and places. My Memere Louisette’s house in France had cupboards full of interesting things that gave me an itch to create, and she’s an amazing cook. My Irish Grandma Evelyn is a fantastic painter and seamstress. My parents encouraged my sister Becky and I to choose our own paths and we have both ended up in a creative industry. Etienne my nephew can often be found sketching away with his dad.
I have four godchildren. I could probably be better at this role as I always forget their birthdays. Hopefully I’ll be better when it comes to motherhood!
My last holiday was a 6-week cruise back from Australia teaching the grey rinse brigade crafts. The ship was rocked by the tsunami from Japan, and then we got diverted from the earthquake in New Zealand. Woooaahhh!
I’m currently working on a print collaboration with the fashion label Bastyan that is launching in S/S 2012. The prints are inspired by DNA and finger prints. I find a lot of my work ties back to personalization.
I started designing jewellery last year. My first project was ‘The Book of Charms’, collaboration with Oasis, a collection of charms with a chain that you could wear together or singly round your neck or wrist. My second collection was ‘The Typewriter Project’, which is now available in Kabiri. Collection three, four and five are currently in prototype.
Hee, Hee, Hee!
M My old Mango leather jacket
Bought for me by my parents when I was 19. The leather, perfume and night out smells are my diary of the last ten years in London town…
My surf home and soundtrack from 2005 - 2007. A little piece of my heart remains there. I'll pick it up some time.
Obsession with films
I watch about five films a week. I love a straight humour film. Favourite ones are 500 Days of Summer, Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine, True Romance, Seven Pounds, Micmacs. Amélie and Half Nelson.
I can’t help a little wiggle or two.
Questions, questions, questions...
I am prone to interrogating people about their ideas on first meeting.
Chanel, McQueen and Gainsbourg (chic legend and damn right sexy).
If I weren’t designing, I would have pursued a career as a stylist. I dabble still to feed my appetite, freelancing on events and charity fashion shows.
It’s a starting point for a lot of my collections. And when I say traveling, I mean everywhere, from far-flung places like Mexico and Malaysia to jumping on the bus from Dalston to Liverpool Street. Inspiration is everywhere.
When somebody asks me what I’m up to, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. At the moment, I’m working on designs for a bar, a new textile collection for my agent, a fashion collaboration, re-designing my website, and a new jewellery collection. And this is just this weeks to do list!
Loughborough University – I didn't want to go. Within a week of getting there I never looked back.
Wack - bring it back
What’s next, bring it on…..Shut the gate.
My folding bike Blossom has caused me to have a few X-rays after living with mischievous boys who enjoy loosening the screws.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I’m a yes person. Who likes the word NO anyway?
I love a snooze.