An interview with Jessica Hogarth

Until last week I’d never heard of Jessica Hogarth, a fact that shocks me considering she’s an up-and-coming British designer with a brilliant, innovative new collection from P & B Textiles called Velocity out this month. It took me about 30 seconds after seeing her collection to get an order in with my distributor and an email out to Jessica asking if she’d do a Q&A!

Read on to find out more about what inspired Jessica’s new collection, how she got her start and what she has planned for her company, Jessica Hogarth Designs! Velocity will be in the shop within two weeks and you can set an alert if you’d like to know exactly when it arrives.

The Village Haberdashery: You are so accomplished for someone so young! Have you always had an idea of what you wanted to do?

Jessica Hogarth: No! I actually started university studying a classical music degree, and after one semester left with a view to pursuing some kind of art course. I initially looked at fine art and contemporary art, and then stumbled across the Printed Textiles course I eventually ended up studying at Leeds College of Art. It was a fantastic place to study and I gradually developed my own drawing style and way of working that I felt comfortable with.

Images from Jessica's portfolio

TVH: You’ve mentioned that Paris has been a significant inspiration in your designs. What else inspires your work?

JH: The first collection I launched under my business name Jessica Hogarth Designs has been largely inspired by the area I grew up in. The higgledy piggledy buildings and boats that litter the village I live in feature strongly across my whole product range, which includes greetings cards, limited edition screen prints and homewares.


Image from Jessica's portfolio

TVH: What is your design process? Is all of your work sketched by hand? What do you listen to while you work?

JH: All of my work begins as a simple drawing in black pen on paper. I love to draw, and whilst I use my wacom tablet pen to change small elements and erase blemishes once I have scanned my drawings in, the fact all of my illustrations are initially by sketched hand is very important to me.

I listen to all kinds of music, but John Mayer released a new album recently so I have been playing that a lot. I also like Michael Kiwanuka, Ben Howard and Erykah Badu.

Drawing by Jessica Hogarth

TVH: What is a typical day like for you? Running a creative business means you wear a lot of hats!

JH: My days vary greatly, which certainly keeps my job interesting. I always check my emails and twitter first thing in a morning, and catch up on a few blogs I like to read. I spend some time either drawing or on illustrator and either updating my blog or researching new artists and designers to write about. Recently my time has been taken up preparing for my upcoming exhibition, so that involves making phone calls for insurance, planning my stand layout and putting together press and promotional material. Once that is over I plan to spend some concentrated time building up my freelance portfolio.

TVH: You told me you’re terrible at sewing! How did your collaboration with P&B textiles to create a fabric collection come about?

JH: Yes I am shocking! P&B Textiles found my work through my website. They were drawn to a number of designs from my final degree portfolio which I then did versions of for them. It involved a lot of emailing back and forth, tweaking colours and layouts, but we are all very happy with the final result.

Velocity by Jessica Hogarth

TVH: Tell us about your upcoming exhibit in New Designers One Year On coming up in July at the Business Design Centre. What can we expect to see?

JH: On my stand you will see a mixture of all of my products on display. I will be showing 6 new greetings cards for the first time, which are an addition to my existing collection. I like bold colours so my exhibitions are always bright and fun to look at whilst hopefully being professional and unique. New Designers is a fantastic opportunity to see work from many artistic disciplines. In the ‘One Year On’ section alone there will be illustration, furniture design and lighting. New Designers is the most important graduate show in the UK, it is an exciting event for both visitors and of course those taking part.

Jessica at her launch at the British Craft Trade Fair

TVH: What’s next for you?

JH: I am really excited to see what new contacts and business opportunities ‘One Year On’ provides me with. I plan to build up my freelance portfolio and work on further products for my own range and expand my list of UK and stockists. In no time at all I will be preparing for the British Craft Trade Fair again, which runs from the 7th-9th April 2013.

Thanks Jessica!

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