Last Thursday the Islington Oliver Bonas store opened its doors a bit later for a behind the scenes talk as part of London Design Festival 2015. Jo & I were welcomed by the lovely OB team with a glass of bubbly and a bit of time for browsing before the talk.
Work Hard, Play Hard & Be Kind – The OB motto
The first Oliver Bonas store was opened in Fulham in 1993 – Olly travelled the world, taking influence from his travels. The brand has become a destination for fashion and gifting, with a colourful eclectic style.
This evening we were hearing from their designer, Molly. After studing Textile design at Central St. Martins, Molly interned with Jamie Oliver and worked at Cath Kidston before joining Oliver Bonas 2 years ago. From what I could see, Molly has one of the best jobs for a brilliant brand, so I was excited to find out a bit more:
Sharing her design process with us, Molly explained that she always began with a concept/mood/theme. For the AW15 range she sights Belynda Henry, Ashley G and Kirra Jamison as inspirations, for their modern and colourful take on abstract patterns. These set the tone for the colour palette; soft colours and textures with a pop of neon, metallics and dramatic undertones of grey and navy.
She is also inspired by blogs (especially Design Love Fest) and praised Pinterest and Instagram for helping her work quickly and discover creatives from across the globe. Molly explains that she would find gorgeous imagery via Instagram, especially Australian Homeware, and recommends searching #doughnuts because it always turns up good results.
Molly explains that she is very lucky to be able to travel and be inspired by different cultures. She visits factories in India and trade shows in Germany and Stockholm, always taking a lot of photos.
Material wise Molly looked at a mix of coloured acrylics, polished copper, fur (fake), enamel and marble. She says the marble drinks trolley has been causing a storm, and is now sold out!
With the rugs, technique is very important – they are handmade, taking 20 hours each. For the AW15 range Molly asked the factory to try printing a delicate pattern on top of a rug, which they didn’t seem too sure about to begin with… but she managed to persuade them to try it. It worked!
After roughly 3 sketchbooks of mark making in her studio, Molly scans everything in and experiments with them in photoshop to speed up the process. Next, she creates mood boards to help set the tone for different product categories, before meeting with Olly and the whole design team to decide on the season’s collection. At this meeting every department (clothing, jewellery, product) brings inspiration and they decide on one coherent colour palette for the whole range.
When deciding which products to include, there are 2 questions which Olly & the team ask: ‘Do you love it?’ and ‘Is it special enough?’. Molly admitted that sometimes she designs things that she wants/needs for her own home into the collection – a perk of the job! She also shared her excitement at learning that her favourite actor has bought the OB desk, designed by Molly.
When asked about her favourite OB project ever, Molly chose the current season wrapping paper which she was able to print using a neon version of CMYK on a £20million printer in Brighton. (Sounds like great fun if you ask me…)
Molly says she loves her job, looking forward to going to work every Monday and feels very lucky. She also confessed that she listens to Drake whilst painting. As I thought, this is basically my dream job… so when can I start guys?