Hailing from Thanet, Shirley Webb is a designer for sportswear brand, Fila.
Now living in Peckham, I caught up with her to find out more about her work in fashion and how she feels about Margate these days...
How would you describe your creative style?
I would say that it's fun and nostalgic. My creativity is now shaped by fashion (predominantly sportswear) so while working for a brand, I always have to bear in mind the heritage and direction of that. I'll always try to shape my collections around a few 'out there' pieces that push the boundaries of what people expect though. I think that with fashion, you have the license to go a bit wild and not take it too seriously.
Who or what inspires your designs?
I'm heavily inspired by what I see people wearing in the streets; it could be a young lad who has styled something interestingly, or a friend of mine who's sweatshirt I love the colours of...
How do you channel your own ideas and tastes to fit those of the brand?
I'm really lucky to have been given a lot of creative freedom with what I do at Fila. The brand has an enormous archive and history which I've been to look through in Italy, so that inspires large parts of my collections. Some of the 80s/90s catalogues are amazing and so relevant for today. I find it easy to work in this way as I love the brand and the heritage is so in tune with my own design style. It's really exciting to update retro pieces.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am researching for the spring/summer '18 Fila collections; putting together mood boards and a colour palette before I start the design process. At the same time, I'm overseeing the fall '17 collection samples, which I'll start presenting to buyers around the end of the month - so there's lots on my plate!
What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
I am very proud of my collections at Fila and often think that if somebody had told me I'd be doing my job with pieces in stores globally while I was at university, I wouldn't have believed them! As a fashion designer it is so exciting to see your clothes in stores/magazines, but I am happiest when I see people wearing my clothes when I'm out and about. That probably feels like my biggest success.
What's your favourite thing about Margate?
One thing I think Thanet trumps London on is good ale pubs. In Margate, I love Fez and The Harbour Arms for a pint, then sitting on the steps by the sea with fish and chips from the chippy along the front. Every time I come home and see the sea I am so thankful to have grown up in Thanet. The view along Margate seafront is hard to beat...