Inspired by a forest fire that devastated the mountain-based village she grew up in in Israel, Inbar Spector crafted a S/S12 collection of visionary skill. Spector landed on her feet after exhibiting at 2008’s London Fashion Week and gained momentum as a designer to earmark since. We sat down with the fearless young talent in her London-based studio to talk clowns, gold dust and fake leather.

When did you start designing?

I started designing in 2006/7 I think, and did my first show in 2008. I graduated at a collage in Israel and didn’t really know where I was going from there. I applied for a masters degree at the Royal College of Art, but opted out because I was already working on my own projects. I thought the best way to exhibit my work would be by putting together a show for London Fashion Week. So I applied and got into a show. I just do what I think is good – I believe in what I do, but I do it for myself. I like the idea that I want to wear the items that I make – that they are both comfortable and wearable. I’m rarely inspired by anything when I go shopping and end up not having anything to wear!

Let’s talk about the concepts behind your S/S12 collection…

I never have one specific inspiration for a collection really – it’s always the result of a collage of ideas. There’s definitely an Elizabethan-ruffles vibe going on with this one, though. Also, there was a big forest fire in the village I’m from in Israel very recently that definitely spurred it on. It’s there, in the gold, smoky and pastel colours I used – pink and green smokiness, and lots of glitter and things like that. The fire happened when I was in London fortunately, but I saw lots of pictures of the event. The blaze lasted for over a week I think, and the real tragedy was that a bus was destroyed as well, with 40 people on board – people I knew where killed. I know the area very well, it’s where I grew up – and now it’s all burnt to the ground. The collection isn’t as melancholic as it sounds, though [laughs]. I have many influences. Another is clowns, and ruffle-y, ancient clown-wear.

You like the idea of factoring practicality into design. What or who inspired you to think along these lines?

No-one, really. I want to be able to find and wear the amazing stuff I see at shows. And that’s why I very recently opened my online shop – for accessibility. I want everyone to be able to buy my items.

What materials did you look at for it at first – did they change through the process?

One fabric I knew I wanted to work with was brocade. I went to a factory in Paris who supply for Dior, Chanel and a lot of couture houses, to look at their archives. I found this reflecting glitter fake leather material that I did a lazer cut on. They then made the design for me at the factory.

What kind of problems did you face?

I had a problem with the final dress, which ended up being so, so heavy. I’ve made it smaller since then. The dress was screwed together for the show – very heavy-duty stuff. I was so worried it would fall off the model! The whole dress would have collapsed on the runway.

What’s the plan? What are you working on now?

I’m working on my winter collection. I prefer this season, because the layers I use is more my style. But it’s a short season, so everything comes and goes twice as fast. So now I need to think about shifting gear – everything needs to be done really, really fast.

Spector’s work will be used in shoots for Paloma Faith and Erin O’Connor this month.

Words: Jack Mills