I was party to an industry event last week that led to a discussion about ‘shy’ and ‘held back’ British designers (see Vox Pop, opposite).
This is an attitude with which I disagree. In fact, all those British designers mentioned by Zandra Rhodes in the debate account for a third of the Parisian fashion scene?
What about the other lot in product design, interiors and architecture who influence design of all sorts, all over the world? They are not shy. What about graphic design, which counts, I think, as the best in the world. Definitely not shy.
Perhaps each one of these fields differs in the extent/ scope for promotion and exposure.
For example, fashion has more exposure than other disciplines. By definition, it allows more flamboyance, it is easily endorsed by ‘celebrity’, and it, of course, does not carry the weight of ‘social’ issues that, say, architecture and interior architecture do. Architecture is more important than its creator, while a fashion product is not.
Design is not primarily about making a splash and big names. And, hopefully, both big and more obscure names across all design categories will continue to attempt to take the opportunities to make a broader positive impact in society, not only within the design community – and, in the process, enjoy it.
Associate/ head of interior architecture
Jestico & Whiles