East London is rife with young and creative talent. Whether you're a designer, musician, artist or illustrator, people from all over the world gather in Hackney, Dalston and Hoxton to soak up the atmosphere and to stimulate their artistic output. With the Olympic games around the corner, the spotlight will soon shine even stronger on the area as visitors from all over the world will embark on Hackney Wick and its surroundings.
Many see the Olympic onslaught as a challenge, a source of inspiration and a chance to reach more people. But the creative process is not something that can be controlled, it's not something that can be turned off and on. To celebrate Glacéau Vitamin Water's i-create campaign, its Olympic sponsorship and new flavour (peach, raspberry and vanilla), we spoke to two East London creatives - menswear designer William Richard Green and illustrator Hattie Stewart - about their inspirations, influences and artistic process... And even though Hattie was busy answering our questions, she also found time to draw THIS exclusive Dazed Digital/Glacéau Vitamin Water illustration....
Dazed Digital: Where does your inspiration come from?
William Richard Green: When thinking about designing a new collection I normally start with an overtly masculine muse, which normally has some kind of utilitarian connotations. For example I have done collections based on Alaskan crab fishermen, football hooligans, Snake Plissken, vikings and war heroes. Also I am obviously inspired by what’s around me for example since moving to Whitechapel which is quite a large Muslim community I see that my work references traditional Muslim attire. I am obviously inspired by Great Britain, the craftsmanship and the industry that we have here which is why I solely use British Fabric and manufacturers. And I guess the last thing is that my friends all work in creative industries and I can always bounce ideas off them.
Hattie Stewart: Friends and documentaries. I've always loved watching documentaries whilst I work and reading biographies. Learning about someone's life, struggle and achievements is a great inspiration and keeps me motivated. As an illustrator/artist I find learning about their experiences and processes a greater inspiration than the work they create. If I can get stimulated mentally, then I can get stimulated visually. That is just how it works for me!
DD: What's better... fantasy or reality?
William Richard Green: Fantasy is better. I always think it’s good to fantasise about where you want to be and then try to achieve it rather than worrying about where you are. I also think it is healthy to have a creative imagination even if it sometimes is a little strange.
Hattie Stewart: I can't have one without the other! My work is more fantastical in its style and content but its creation maintains my reality.
DD: Is drawing instinctive for you? How do you design?
William Richard Green: No, I can’t draw for shit. I feel as for menswear, the design is in the detailing and the functionality. I like to test out ideas in fabric and keep tweaking them until I am happy with them. I obviously do draw but not much better than a five year old. I am really excited about the possibilities that computers and technology have in fashion even though it is very under-explored in fashion in comparison to other industries such as music production which I spend a lot of time doing. I think the possibilities with technology are exciting and really wish to make this a massive feature of my design process.
Hattie Stewart: Absolutely. I just draw straight from pen to paper. I've never been one for creating roughs or explaining ideas its just never worked for me. To see something I need to SEE it so I prefer just going straight to the final piece. This has always worked best for me especially considering I like quick deadlines and turn-a-rounds. I've never been able to cope with long deadlines, to much faffing about for my liking, I end up getting really confused!
DD: Where and when are you at your most creative?
William Richard Green: I have a lot of ideas at four in the morning when I can’t sleep, which is kind of a nuisance. I also have a lot of ideas when I am cycling on my bike but obviously can’t jot them down and have normally forgotten them by the time I put pen to paper. I think I have the least of my ideas when I am actually in my studio. It is a very uninspiring space.
Hattie Stewart: Usually when I'm about to go to sleep. For some reason, presumably because I'm more relaxed, I get most of my ideas and solve the most problems.
DD: If you could make anything an Olympic event - and win at it - what would it be?
William Richard Green: Canoe polo. It's a brilliant sport! I used to play a lot before I moved to London and wish more people knew about it!
Hattie Stewart: I like drawing straight over a long period of time so I reckon the only thing I could have a chance at winning would be a doodle marathon!