Camilla Bloom: Creating Whilst Isolating Series
London based designer Camilla Bloom talks us through her inspirations and processes, invites us to name her ‘Flower Melt Jacquard Wrap’ colour-ways and, of course, to join her for a Martini!
When did you get into knitting?
I studied fashion design with business at Brighton University, and then did internships with Gareth Pugh and Alexander Wang. After this, I was a designer at Aquascutum for nearly 5 years. We were a small team so I started designing the knitwear, and fell in love! I liked that you develop the fabric/2D design and create the 3D garment as well. 2 in 1 for me!
How did you learn how to knit?
I’m still learning as I go along! I work with suppliers who are super helpful. Any knitter will tell you it’s super technical and sometimes highly unpredictable - lots of problem solving. I know how to hand knit but programming for the digital knitting machines is another level. On the 2021 learning list for sure!
What inspires you?
People around me, charity shops, galleries, books, archives, films, fabric shops and fairs.. and my Granny.
Have you had any recent obsessions?
Yes! Howard Hodgkin paintings and 19th Century Venetian glass - the distorted flowers have inspired some future pieces.
How do you translate your inspiration into your work?
I always have a billion ideas, it’s hard to focus and translate that sometimes. But thankfully with knit you’re limited buy what you can design on horizontal rows - so that helps rule out a lot of over complicated inspiration.
What do you do with patterns, samples and materials that haven’t worked out?
I have started a Camilla Bloom swatch archive of all my tests. I don’t throw anything away because even the mistakes are valuable in knowing what not to do next! I am really careful not to overproduce samples, again, I keep hold of them - lots get used for shoots or end up in mine or my friends wardrobes!
What makes you sustainable? And have you faced any challenges because of this?
It’s always a work in progress, and I ask myself these questions on the daily;
- Are the materials low impact and if not, are they serving an important purpose?
- Do I need that exact shade of red or can I use surplus yarn?
- Can I wait to receive that sample, so everything can be sent in one package?
- Are these raw materials from the same country as the garment production?
What’s your favourite piece you’ve made?
Probably the Flynn Jumpsuit - it took me 6 months to perfect!
What music do you listen to when you work?
I listen to a lot of Arlo Parks and Celeste at the moment, as they’re great for mellow studio vibes. To be honest, anything by Moodymann, Sade, Massive Attack and Guru works very nicely. I’m actually going to make some Camilla Bloom playlists!
Do you have any advice for young designers?
I would say don’t force something that doesn’t seem to be working - equally if youre being pulled in a particular direction, go with it and see what unfolds. Listen to your first instincts. I’d also recommend being as open minded and flexible as possible - there’s big changes in the industry and you may end up going own a design path you didn’t plan on, but that ends up being really rewarding.
Do you take interns?
At the moment I have a fab PR intern, Martha! We are able to work remotely during lockdown, however, it’s much harder with design internships, but hoping in 2021.
How do you stay motivated?
I have the attention span of a small child. I need breaks. If I’m not feeling it - stop, do something else. Reset. I am SO incredibly lucky to label something I love as ‘work’ - that always snaps me back.