My creative process is authentic to my character. I surround myself with things I love and everything that make me smile and be at peace. Different stages of the creative process call for different locations, from spending nights under the stars on empty beaches and forests to the city cafes and my garden, and finally into my studio. If I could have solar powered sewing machines, I'm pretty sure that I'd be sewing on the sandy beaches of the UK as if it was as normal as having an ice cream on a sunny day.
Each of my mood boards consist of 25 items I'm inspired by during a given period of time. It's an organic process that works for me. Once the item collection process is complete, that can range from physical items and images I've taken with my phone to my writings, from pebbles and flowers to a wooden tray and something as random as broken glass can be in any of my mood boards. I apply the maths and the science to get the results from my mood board. I then add the chosen experience from my real life events to sit beside the results from the mood board to begin the design process. I learnt the basics from my mentor in my early years, then developed and fine tuned the process through science and maths to create design ideas from them constantly. I only have one rule when it comes to collecting for my mood boards, that is to not include garments of other desigers, in order to prevent me from being unconciously influenced by their style.
Call me sentimental, but I have an adoration for all things hand written. In the age when everything is instant, the deliberate pause to write something by hand is inspiring. I often write short synopsis for certain objects and sometimes even about my emotions of certain things to include in my mood board. This helps me to create designs that have extra layers to sit beside the collection story.
The mood board section within my studio is part of the 'JC LAB'. I grew up being fascinated whilst undertaking carefully set experiments with chemistry and biology in my dad's medical lab, and now I've incorporated so much of those learnings into my own work flow by having my own lab. It's a foundation area within my creative process that really excites me, as it allows me to dive deep and create from the building blocks of life. Science really fascinates me, and inspires me to a level that I feel blessed to be able to infuse it with my art.
Nature is a big source of inspiration for me. Peace and calmness are the two fundamental catalysts for my creative ideas to flow. This is the very first and the third stage of the creative process. Sandwiched in the middle like the freshly whipped double cream in a Victoria sponge, sits the scientific mood board stage of my process. The notion of setting up a temporary creative office at my favourite locations afford me the freedom to be inspired by the wonders of nature.
My offices/creative spaces, as I like to call them are secluded spots with beautiful views. They can be found here, there and everywhere. I set up my creative offices wherever my mood takes me for inspirations, whether it's a beach in the UK, a cafe in Paris or a forest in the Bay of Bengal.
My toy poodle, Teus travels with me almost everywhere I set up office within the UK, whether it's on a road trip or on the beach with a camera strapped to him. Teus has been by my side for nearly fourteen years, from meeting my floral clients to my bespoke ones and being on photoshoot sets, he loves it all. If he doesn't like someone, I resist working with them, it's just a secret little pact of trust that we have. He does have a sulk, when I have to leave him behind during my holidays but he soon drowns me again with kisses and cuddles upon my return. We share everything, including the ice creams on the beaches.
I've grown to create my surroundings to reflect everything that inspire me and allow me to be at peace, so I can create to the best of my abilities. My little garden is one of the most beautiful creative spaces of calmness, and it transcends me to a place where ideas and designs flow naturally.
And yes, I'm a big kid when it comes to spinning some sugar and making candy floss. I really don't have an excuse for being so outrageously whymsical, except for the fact that I'm a fan of everything sublime and artsy whilst being myself. Sometimes, I'm all posh for an hour or two, until I start to create something and then the kid comes out to play and I end up creating things you see on this website.
I do indulge to my hearts content during my creative hours, but sometimes I do so with what I like to call the healthy options... skinny late with a generous helping of freshly whipped double chocolate mousse, sugar free of course, and home made spinach cake with raspberries. I see anything with fruits and vegetables in, as being part of my five a day.
My home grown oraganic fruits keep my mind focused on creativity in my garden office. Oh... the clemantine in the image below came from M&S. My tables may be full of sweet delights to keep my sugar levels balanced, however, there are times when I become so engrossed in designing and creating that I don't eat anything other than fresh fruits for days on end. Those become my de-toxing and healthy days.
In the early stages, when I sketch ideas from my inspirations, it's a super important phase within my entire creative process and I afford myself every luxury when it comes to being me, by picking a peaceful creative space for design ideas to flow effortlessly. Often, I cook my dinners from left over ingredients to reduce my food waste and a home made pizza is one of those easy ways. I chop up a mix of odd bits in my fridge, place it on any shape dough I make with bread flour and throw on some cheese from a constant supply in the freezer and I have deliciousness on a plate in 15 minutes. The Romans would have probably cruicified me in the olden days for what I call home made pizza, but it's a big part of my carbon net zero strategies.
I call it creative fuel, my family and friends call it food. I cook, bake and blend everything organic that I grow myself with a little help from the supermarkets for the ingredients that I can't grow. I don't know about anyone else, but I really don't have the expertise to grow almonds or pistachios to ground and garnish. My creative space whether it's an empty beach, a forest, a cafe or my garden, there's always a constant supply of tasty deliciousness to fuel my creativity.
It took me many years and many attempts to master my macaron recipe. Now, they've earned their place on my creative table. Somehow, they help me to tailor beautiful bespoke; it must be the almond vitamins. Whenever I'm designing from my mood boad, I tend to bake different cheesecakes to fuel my little creative brain cells. It's become second nature and my neighbours love me for it as I can't finish a whole cheesecake on my own. Well... I could, and at times I have, but I don't want to talk about that.
I'm a feeder! Whenever I collaborate with other creatives, I contribute towards the creative fuel with home made sweet treats. My opera cakes are nearly as special as my bespokes. They both have many steps in their creation process, they both have beautiful clean lines and they're both sexy as hell.
If I could drink wisdom, instead of gaining them through my life lessons, I'd be there ready with every conceivable container I could find at home.
The mango cheesecake above was the result of a beautiful golden sunset views from my garden, the evening before.
By the time I get to the fourth stage of my creative process, I'm usually back in the flow of a busy city life. During this period of time, I visit my favourite places to submerse myself into different types of creative hubs. From designing textiles to graphics and choosing the fabrics for each design, this is when my visions begin to transform into reality.
The final stage of my creative process happens in my studio. It's a sacred space that houses my pattern cutting table where each and every piece of bespoke is cut and their patterns are filed individually according to the designs; yes, I do have a wardrobe where my patterns hang under their unique reference numbers, it helps me to stay organised. My studio is a private space to my brand and only a handful of my trusted friends/creative collegaues who understand and respect tailoring and confidentiality have ever entered to watch me tailor some of my unique pieces in there. Shoes have to be replaced with special studio slip ons and gloves have to be worn before entering, as odd as that may seem to some, those are non-negotiables for anyone who wants to enter my protected space.
My tailoring process is designed specifically to create pieces of hand made couture. My studio is sectioned into different areas to tailor different parts of each design. From pressing area to pasting, sewing, steaming and of course the JC LAB. The space is not designed for relaxation, rather I spent the time and a lot of thought into designing it specifically for my own mindset, a space that encourages me to fully concentrate on each part of this stage, one step at a time without any distractions.
For me, what's on the inside matters just as much as what's on the outside. I always offer bespoke linings for my JC Bespoke range, as they are quite special, and the possibilities are endless. However, sometimes it takes a lot of maths to make everything align perfectly, but every minute of precision tailoring is absolutely worth the finished result that is unique to each person who wears a piece.
The only relaxed area within my studio is where I hand embroider fabrics for individual bespoke pieces. Quite often, each embroidered design take more than hundred hours to complete, so I make sure to have the correct posture to be able to embroider without being uncomfortable.