Like fashion magpies drawn to anything pink and loud, we spotted Danielle Spencer’s designs at Graduate Fashion Week and have been obsessed ever since.
Never been to Graduate Fashion Week? It’s intense. Thousands of grads who have poured their hearts and souls into final garments peer on as the industry skulks around, judging three years worth of work in three crucial seconds. That said, it’s an impressive platform for even more impressive talent. While we were there we were drawn to the flirtatious designs of University of East London graduate Danielle Spencer. You’d stop too if you saw a pink jacket with mirrored letters dangling on the back, spelling “wine me, dine me, sixty-nine me”.
After being blogged, Insta’d and all round adored post GFW, we interrupted Danielle’s summer holiday relaxation to ask her all about her loud and proud creations, where her dreams to become a designer sparked from and what’s next for the outlandish grad.
What made you want to become a designer?
When I was younger I loved Bratz dolls (90s/00s version of a fashionable Barbie doll) and was inspired to draw lots of different characters wearing (with what I considered to be at the time) the best clothing designs to grace the planet! My Grandma thought so too and still has them to this day on greeting cards – so embarrassing!
I feel that my fashion illustrations definitely still hold a strong resemblance to the early drawings due to the fun characters I like to create – however, the clothing designs (thank goodness) have improved a lot!
Who are your favourite designers at the moment?
I absolutely love Roberta Einer! A graduate from Westminster, she does the most amazing textile pieces with so much intricate, innovative detail, her SS15 collection has lots of pink in it (definitely a winner for me). My favourite piece of hers is this oversized sailor/varsity jacket made out of tweed with silk ribbon work embroidered into the fabric.
I am also enjoying Helen Lawrence’s SS15 knitwear collection with the combination of latex and knit, I thought the raw unfinished look with visible seams was really clever! I get this sexy human teddy bear vibe.. Kind of like a trip to ‘The Bear Factory’ gone wrong.
How did you go about creating you graduate collection, what was the first piece of inspiration that came you?
I’m an 80s girl at heart and i’m really in to Americana/Kitsch, but for my graduate collection (because I’m originally from Burnley – a little town between Leeds and Manchester). My local seaside town is Blackpool! So it evolved as this Miami vs. Blackpool beach scenario. Starting my research, I delved straight into what seaside town is known for – The illuminations and a good old stick of Blackpool rock. These are where the print ideas originate from!
What was the hardest part?
Topstitching PVC. Wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy, once that needle is in there there’s no going back, or else you have a massive hole in the fabric, I resorted to an old school approach of manually twisting the wheel of the sewing machine for each stitch. So each topstitch has been lovingly sewn by me!
Who do you imagine to be wearing your clothes when you design them?
Marina Diamandis is one super cool gal! I love her fearless, colourful style and is reflected in her music and stage presence, I’d love to dress her for a gig!
Lily Rose Depp as well, just because she is 15 and is cooler than me and I’m 23… She would completely rock my designs!!! To be fair no one can compete with a gal who’s mother who is Karl Lagerfelds long time muse and dad Johnny Depp!?!? It would be a dream shoot with Lily and Gia Coppola to photograph – winning combination! I am obsessed with her style after seeing her directing debut in Palo Alto.
Last but not least! Elle Fanning has this flirty girly girl style which I admire. Her cover shoot with ASOS magazine last Spring/Summer pictured her in a motel swimming pool with a strong 80s Americana aura, this cemented her in my thoughts as someone I’d love my designs worn by, her youthful looks and fun persona means she would be the perfect person to embody the vision of my collection.
What’s your favourite piece from your graduate collection? (Obvs we’re in love with the wine me dine me sixty-nine me jacket)!!
The boiler suit with laser cut arrows and love hearts is another fave! It’s so amazing how everything moves and twinkles like a disco ball when it’s worn.
I have endless fun shooting this look too because it’s all about the movement to capture the 3D jewellery like element! To go with the boiler suit (in true 80s style) I also had a great time making lots of clip on earrings to go with each outfit made out of the perspex shapes – less is not more (definitely not), more is MORE! Go all out I say!
How would you describe your personal style?
Honestly… I’m a bit of an Ebay queen! My top searches are normally vintage 80s or 60s (time eras with the most colour and jazzy prints). However, I’ve just got back from Spain and I love the markets over there, I found an absolute treasure in this little pale blue denim and gold pleather hand bag bedazzled with gemstones and rhinestones in all different colours it’s my new favourite thing – denim handbag plus denim jacket plus denim dress – 50 shades of denim… definitely appropriate for every occasion!
So many people were talking about your designs after GFW! What’s your next step?
I’m dipping my toes back home in the Northern waters, but I am searching for the perfect junior designer role to continue doing what I enjoy the most, as well as working alongside on my own projects!
The dream is to be a part of Fashion East because it is such a good platform for recognising new amazing talent and my favourite British designers have progressed and been successful through this platform – It would be incredible to be supported and involved.