Since first meeting Professor Richard Weston at our Best of British Open Call back in 2010, when he woo-ed our buyers with this fresh approach to the fashion world and scientific scarf design techniques, we’ve watched his stunning silk scarves grow in both popularity and beauty.
His much anticipated new season AW12 collection has arrived in store, so we caught up with the Professor to see how things have changed since his first season here at Liberty.
If you want hear more about Richard Weston’s story, catch up on LIBERTY TV. He’ll also be here in store for a personal appearance on Thursday 16th August, where you’ll be able to meet and man himself between 1-6pm in our Scarf Hall.
You’re described as “fashion’s most unexpected new design star” by British Vogue. How have things changed since being discovered at our Best of British Open Call?
Completely! I’m able to devote a lot more time to my work and although Liberty remains our ‘spiritual home’ we’re selling all over the world from New York to Tokyo. I’ve made a special scarf for Burt’s Bees to help promote awareness of the environmental issues facing beekeepers, and some very ‘starry’ names are wearing Weston Scarves (sadly I’m not allowed to mention them!). I’ve even been described in the Observer as ‘an academic even cooler than Brian Cox’ – and by the very stylish Lauren Laverne, no less!
Which fossils / minerals appear in the AW12 collection? Are there any particular favourites which stand out?
As ever, there are a lot of agates – the most varied and versatile of all – and I’ve aimed to combine warm autumnal colours with rich ‘wintery’ blues. The latter include two of my favourites: a very ‘architectural’ quartz with giant monochrome crystal forms and a new departure in the form of an image of pigments diffused in synthetic resin, captured from an ‘offcut’ of a work by Ruth McLees, an artist-friend.
Now you’re prints have taken off in the fashion world, do you still have time for your other loves – teaching and architecture?
I’m still teaching 3 days a week but have had to put plans to build my own house on hold – I am, however, hoping to get Planning Permission for an additional studio in the garden of my existing house. I’m still determined to demonstrate the full potential of what I call the ‘Digital Arts and Crafts’, however, but unless someone else wants to take the plunge that may be a few years away.
Have you started to be recognised on the street yet?
Not now that BBC2’s ‘Britain’s Next Big Thing’ is becoming a distant memory. Amazingly, just over a year ago I bumped into an English teacher in my favourite spot in New York – the tiny but exquisite Paley Park on 53rd Street – who recognised me!
Do you still feel surprised when you see your scarves hanging here in the Liberty Scarf Hall?
Happily, they’re becoming a familiar sight! – I’m far from blasé, but the initial thrill has inevitably worn off just a little. But there’s always a buzz seeing them displayed beautifully – and, of course, people admiring and buying them.
You’ll be here in store on the 16th August for a personal appearance – will we spot you trying your hand at any new scarf styling techniques with our scarf tying guru Lauranne?
I could certainly use a few new twists! We’re launching a traveling exhibition called ‘Container of Curiosities’ in Cardiff at the end of September and some of my local fans will undoubtedly be eager for new styling tips. We’re planning to bring the exhibition to London – and then ‘The World’! It’s based on Renaissance collectors’ rooms that teemed with displays of minerals, fossils, stuffed animals, you name it – and also with strange hybrids combing ‘nature’ and ‘art’. We hope it will surprise and delight.
You’re based in Dinas Powys, Wales – any plans to relocate to a Weston Print house in the future?
I have an assistant, Ceri Redman, in Wales and we do all the design work. My business partner Martin Price, who’s based in Surrey, handles the ‘business’ side and – for now – we’re coping. But given the rate of growth I wouldn’t dare to predict where we might be in two years’ time.
Our next Best of British Open Call is coming up in January 2013 – what advice would you give to fellow hopefuls who’ll be attending the event?
Enthusiasm, commitment and originality seem to me all important, not a ‘slick’ presentation. Regardless of the outcome it’s a great day to be part of, full of energy and interesting people, so enjoy the waiting (it can take a while to be seen!) and savour a unique event that might just change your life for ever.0 Comments