Thursday 29th June 2017

Lisa King

I am so happy to be able to share with you an interview I have done with Lisa King. Not only is she one of my oldest friends and favorite people but an incredible textile designer. We are childhood friends from Railai Beach Thailand, where we both grew-up at our home away from home. Today she shares with us her story about how she has arrived at where she is today and some insights into her beautiful designs and creative thinking…

What do you do and how did you end up doing it?

I’m a designer, prints being my specialty, and I’ve just launched a unisex accessories line.

It’s been an interesting and perhaps unusual journey to this point. It all started in my first year at Central St. Martins; I was studying textiles, and at the same time dancing semi professionally, and it was through a dancer friend that I met Kylie Minogue’s Creative Director William Baker.  I owe him.  William’s work really inspired me, his ability to combine fashion, music, dance and entertainment was something I was dying to learn more about.  I was lucky enough to be granted a few weeks’ work experience.  That was one of those sliding door moments.

In the six years that would follow, I assisted Will in styling Kylie’s personal and tour wardrobe, and I set up and launched William’s men’s underwear and swimwear label called B*Boy. After I left B*boy in 2009, I started designing again.  Since then I’ve created prints for designers ranging from Osman, Issa, Boudicca, Armani, Calvin Klein, and DVF to Victoria’s Secret.  It was always amazing to see a print I’d drawn on a catwalk, but I finally decided that this year I would bring something out under my own name.  It was to coincide with a printed shoe collaboration I’ve just done with Clarks Originals. So here I am, Screw scarves, printed kicks and all.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’ve got a pop-up shop opening on May 23at Boxpark in London so I’ve been running between my studio and the leather, print and jewellery workshops of London these past few weeks making new products exclusively for the shop.  I’m finishing new print for Elle-en-Jette swimwear as well as a few for other designers.  I recently locked myself in a barn for four days to do some new paintings for scarves.

Where do you go to for inspiration?

London is an amazing city to live in as a creative and I try to go out and see as much of it as I can; the usual gigs, exhibitions, dance performances, but also car park raves, medieval cemetery tours and philosophy lectures.  I think as long as you remain curious, open minded, do the things you enjoy, but be free to invitations of new experiences, you never have to go looking for inspiration.

Which show are most looking forward to seeing?

Bowie at the V&A. Frank Ocean at Brixton Academy. Rodriguez at Wilderness Festival.

What can we expect from Lisa King in 2013?

More collaborations, one hopefully coming out soon with an up and coming artist whose music is going to blow up when his album comes out on May 6.  A group show in October, called the Ten Store, for which I’m developing a furniture piece.  A dance vs print fashion film.  The Screw print takeover.

How do you think your cultural background has affected your design?

Undeniably so. Growing up in Thailand, with an English father and Indonesian mother who was also a designer, our house was full of colour and texture; batiks, Balinese paintings, exotic flowers, and Southeast Asian antiques. Mix that with childhood trips to comparably grey England I guess you get my split print personality.

Or perhaps the environment of a fast growing city like Bangkok sparked my taste for the industrial, and the Thai way of thinking dictated how I perceive nature.  I observe and deconstruct a lot of natural forms in my prints.

Who are your favorite artists/designers at the moment?

Mat Colinshaw, artist. Sergei Larbi Cherkov, choreographer. He did a piece for the album preview of Sigur Ros’s Valtari.  It an incredibly moving, beautiful piece of dance and music, perfectly and poetically combined. I cry every time I watch it.

And Ivan Blackstock, choreographer, he’s one to watch.

What makes you happy?

Dancing all night. Seeing the sea. Cooking with friends. Spending time with my faraway family. Bearbrick, and Nike trainers.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Nick Grimshaw and granola.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?


What’s your favorite place in London?

The Southbank.

What is your greatest strength?


What is your greatest weakness?


What would you like to improve?

Conservation awareness – everyone needs to see the documentary Chasing Ice.  The English weather. Oh, and my ability to sing.

What can you not live without?

Som tam – Thai green papaya salad.

What are your current obsessions?

The Child of Lov’s music and artwork for his single covers.  The Meringue Girls’ meringues.  James Blake’s music.

Who would attend your last meal?   

Those I love the most.

What makes you laugh?

Road runner cartoons, and the word, carp.

What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you?

Professionally? Walking up the red carpet into the V&A, and seeing a printed dress I designed as the centerpiece of Kylie’s retrospective exhibition. Personally? That one’s a secret.

What’s on your bedside table?

A Laosian silver tea pot, a Burmese lacquer box, Mark Vernon’s book on love.

How would you describe your personal style?

I am told it’s eclectically elegant.  In reality it’s mostly black textures and gold details.

What is your personal hideout place/ inspiration location?

Prufrock Coffee on leather lane, the basement of Yumchaa in Soho, Ozone in Old Street, Scooter café on Lower Marsh, and Railei Beach in Thailand when I get to go home.

What is the last exhibition you went to?

The Bride and the Bachelors; Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns at the Barbican.

What do you talk about at the hairdressers?

How I think a dip-dye really wouldn’t suit me.

To find more of Lisa Kings beautiful scarves visit her pop-up shop at Boxpark, Shoreditch, from May 23rd. Or visit her website for her online shop.  

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