The story behind our brightest Spring Summer collection yet!
Designers at Clarks are always on the hunt, in any shape or form, for new ideas and inspiration. When attending a graduate show in 2014, one of the Clarks team spied the work of this particular designer. Introducing Gemma Kay Waggett, a 29 year old Textile Design Graduate and Colour and Material Print Designer from Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Moving to London when she was 18, Gemma attended prestigious London Art College, Central Saint Martins, as well as The Royal College of Art, where she completed both a BA and MA in Textile Design. Alongside this Gemma boasts an impressive list of previous employers, such as Damien Hirst, Giffords Circus and Selvedge Magazine.
Clarks brought Gemma to their HQ in Street, Somerset, where she was handed the task of designing a series of materials for a collection in the SS16 Women’s range. Interestingly she began her process by looking for inspiration around Clarks HQ, specifically seeking out unique, interesting shapes and patterns to help form her own ideas. It was important to Gemma that her work told a story about Clarks, and had a real significance to the brand. To develop the print for the sandal collection, Gemma took the individual pieces of a deconstructed Desert Boot, the Clarks brand’s most famous icon, to create a beautifully striking, colour block graphic, that has an abstract feel when applied to the shoes.
We caught up with Gemma to find out more about her design process and experience of working with Clarks – with just a little bit of time left over to find out some more about her, too!
So, Gemma, after being given the task of designing prints for Clarks, where did you start for inspiration?
I like to think that my eyes are always open. The main door at Clarks’ reception was one of the first things that I noticed when I came to Street, and it stuck with me as I started to think about the design. I’m just a collector of information - images, objects or snippets of material that may work their way into a design at some point.
Do you use any specific techniques to create your designs?
I work both by hand and digitally to explore and develop my designs. For the SS16 collection my designs have been screen printed, digitally printed, bonded, laser etched and laser cut - I care a lot about the careful execution of techniques. As well as refined material choices and colour selections.
Did you have a good experience of the design process while working with Clarks?
It’s been great to work with and learn from the footwear designers as well as the colour and trends team at Clarks. An invaluable insight into the industry and the production of shoes!
How did it make you feel when you saw your shoes in store for the first time?
It was so fun to see them nicely stacked up and merchandised in the windows. It made me feel super proud. I think it’s great that Clarks are working with emerging designers like me, and are investing in developing original patterns and colour palettes that are ownable and exclusive!
How will you personally be styling your shoes this summer?
I mostly dress head to toe in navy and denim. So I’ll be wearing the sandals with painted toenails and denim dresses, Dungarees and jeans all summer long. I think they could also look good with block colour socks, too!