Fixated by the way clothes make her feel and infatuated by the maverick attitude of Jack Kerouac, Olivia Deane is the Westminster womenswear graduate perfecting the art of a super-sized silhouette.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes Awww”
Quoting author and literary iconoclast Jack Kerouac as the main inspiration behind her debut catwalk collection, bushy browed, brunette Olivia describes fashion as an integral part of her life, cemented into her subconscious. Fascinated by the Romani culture, working from natural sensibilities and never completely confident in the risks she takes with her bold, bright aesthetic, this outlandish 22-year-old’s designs are incidental, original and instantly identifiable. i-D online sat down with the good-gal and seamstress to discuss what’s going on in her drawers…
How have you developed your style since you first began studying fashion? I can honestly say I didn’t even realise I had one until about a month ago! I just worked with my natural sensibilities, and the understanding that I have of certain fabrics and worked with a confidence developed over time. I think that a balanced confidence is the key to developing a style.
How do you describe your own personal sense of dress? Relaxed and fun, but always with an injection of darkness.
How important is fashion to you on a day-to-day basis? It’s a part of my life, and a part of who I am so it comes with me wherever I go. My lifestyle changes pretty drastically all the time as well, swapping from the city to the countryside regularly. The city is where I’m more conscious of my dress, whereas at home by the seaside I opt to look effortless and comfortable; it’s where I’m happiest.
How do you overcome the financial restrictions that being a student and working in fashion imposes upon you? I would never take for granted the support my parents have given me, I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I have endless admiration for those who work and study, and try to hold down a relationship at the same time. I think it might actually be impossible!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the challenges fashion presents and if so, how did you find the strength to continue? I answer this question at a time where I’m currently finding the strength to continue… I think this is where fashion sets itself so far apart from any rationale, something inside you just kicks in, and I guess that’s when you know you’re in it for life.
What were your curation methods when putting this final collection together? I think it’s so important to do what comes naturally to you. Look back at your past and try to understand why you made the unconscious decisions you did. Never be something that you’re not or allow anyone to push you somewhere you’re not comfortable.
Do you remember your first ‘fashion’ moment? I saw a Christian Lacroix show at the V&A. I can’t remember what it was for, but I remember feeling like my heart had skipped a beat, I was hooked from then onwards.
What’s your favourite wardrobe staple? I’m never happier than when I’m rocking my onesie.
What other emerging young designers do you cite as the talent for the next generation? I feel so fortunate to have studied alongside a variety of very talented students. My class mates inspired and pushed me daily to do what I have done. I think Westminster is intelligent in the way it picks students, you’re not just a number there, you’re a personality.
Who has inspired you the most throughout your career? My mother, if I am ever half the woman she is I will be forever grateful.
What are your top 5 fashion hot spots?
3. Any American Goodwill store i.e. Goldmines
5. My pyjama drawer…