Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Welcome to the second instalment of our new series, which profIles each of our lovely designers (you can see the first one here). This week we're chatting with Holly Clarke. 

After studying Fashion Design at Instituto per l’Arte e Restauro in Florence (Italy), Holly began her design career with Italian fashion house Costume National. Before joining Citta Design as a product and textile designer in 2013 she co-founded Curtis & Clarke, designing a broad range of New Zealand made interior objects and textiles for their Ponsonby boutique. This week we had a chance to catch up with her and talk about her creative inspiration and some of her favourite things.

Where/how did you begin your career in design?
I originally trained as a fashion designer in Florence, where I lived for eight years. My lucky break happened when I landed a role at Costume National in Milan, where I worked during the fashion season in the showrooms in Milan and Paris. I would edit the large accessory collection and sell the range to buyers from around the world. It gave me a real insight into an amazing creative fashion label and propelled my love of an authentic design aesthetic.

After I returned to NZ I decided to further train in graphic design and largely it was self-taught. My graphic design roles in New Zealand have been an interesting mix of textile and product design, as well as high-end brand creation and packaging. I have done textile design for Pumpkin Patch and brand creation for B.R.R. I also set up a home ware company called Curtis & Clarke which was all designed and made in New Zealand. I've loved the variety of different design projects and enjoyed learning new skills that seem to contribute to one another.

Who or what inspires you?
Her name was Mrs McKissock Davies. I was lucky enough to have such a great art teacher at the age of 17. She hugely opened my eyes to contemporary art and taught me how to look at the subject of a work, as well as how to draw and paint. To this day I still look at contemporary art for inspiration and I belong to an art group which permits me to hang artworks in my home. I also LOVE to travel and explore – no adventure is too big or too small!

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
It can greatly depend on which part of our design cycle we are currently in. Usually a cup of tea with emails first thing, then the afternoon could be either researching ideas, or painting and drawing, refining designs on the computer, or creating finished artwork and spec' sheets.

What’s your favourite piece or design from the winter 2015 collection?
I really enjoyed working on the Deco Deco print for Paris. My initial idea was refined down a lot and ended up as two concepts. So where I start and where it ends up can be two quite different things. This refining process is like polishing an idea so that it can go no further, to the point that I can say I am really happy with it. Each design needs that time to be crafted and this print in particular I thought came out well.

What does 'chic' mean for you?
Simple and interesting ideas that are well polished. Less is more.

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