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This month’s Designer Spotlight features another over-40 woman who proves that success and creativity flourish at any age. Meet Lizzie Montgomery of London, United Kingdom. Lizzie designs scarves, boots, dish wear, jackets, tablet/phone cases, and even bespoke car designs. She’s a master of applying vintage and ancient designs to modern applications.
Lizzie talks about her influences, collaborations, and how to make the coolest car in town.
Designer Spotlight: Q&A with Lizzie Montgomery
SS: When and how did you being making prints and patterns?
LM: I spent my school years at a Rudolf Steiner School in Sydney, where we had to illustrate everything we learnt, right up to year 12, so my illustration skills were honed and I was commissioned to illustrate an Arthurian legend at 20.
SS: You received the Bronze A’ Design Award in the Fashion, Apparel and Garment Design category in 2014 for the Wollstonecraft Capsule Collection. Tell us about the theme and how it’s application has expanded.
LM: The unique printed fabrics for this collection are meticulously designed by myself and digitally printed on silk and cotton. The theme for this collection is ‘Women and Culture’. I took inspiration from women as depicted through the decades in advertising and illustration, and their roles in domestic life and in society. I designed the garments around the fabric print placements, as the prints inform the garment shape. My intention was to place womens’ high-end fashion in a meaningful cultural and historical context.
SS: Where do you source your materials?
LM: All my products are designed and manufactured in the UK. I chose to work this way because I can ensure ethical production as well as quality control.
SS: You collaborated with the Victoria and Albert museum on an original scarf design for their 18th Century Galleries. How did that relationship begin and what were the specific references you used from the museum archives?
LM: I was exhibiting at Scoop London and the V&A’s head buyer found me and asked if I would do an exclusive collaboration, celebrating the wealth of the V&A’s collections in a new silk scarf design.
Described as a ‘festoon of 18th century English decorative art’, the Arcadia Scarf design combines furniture, jewellery, ceramics, paintings, textiles and architecture from the 18th century. To create the scarf, I spent time in the V&A’s libraries researching the collections, then selecting and collaging images together. The V&A has always been my favourite place in London so this was one project I was not going to turn down!
SS: You also design and sell cushion covers, pottery, even iPhone cases. But the bespoke car painting is totally unexpected as well as breathtaking. What is the process for such an elaborate project? And can anyone order one for her car?
LM: The custom car designs definitely turn heads. First I create a design theme, then for each car panel I make a paper template so I can make a customised design for each panel. Then I have the designs printed on thin stretchy vinyl which is applied expertly onto the car. I’ve so far done two different bespoke cars, and orders are welcome!
Recently I have been enjoying promoting other designers and craftspeople through my large Instagram following. Every Tuesday I do a ‘Designer Spotlight’ and the Instagram community really seems to appreciate exposure to new makers they would never otherwise have found. I sell some of their work on my website as well as my own.
SS: What’s the next Lizzie Montgomery project?
LM: I’m looking forward to a major interior design project this year which you will have to look out for on Instagram!
SS: Do you have any advice for aspiring print and pattern artists?
LM: My advice would be to research the marketplace thoroughly, don’t try to enter a design area that is already saturated with similar work; discover where there is a gap in the market before investing time and money. Use social media to promote yourself, with very good curation. By this I mean think about each photo you post carefully! The social media route can take time and discipline but can bring great rewards.
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