A few months ago, I came across Safiyyah Studios while scrolling on Instagram. I loved her pretty images and was interested to learn more about the designer behind the brand. Safiyyah has a wonderful sense of colour and style which comes across in her first collection ‘Whimsical Bloom’, which incorporates abstract watercolour artwork which is digitally printed on her range of scarves and cushions.
Safiyyah kindly provided me with her stunning Audrey scarf. The product photograph below displays the full design better than I can! I used the scarf as a beautiful backdrop for some styled photos of flowers I have grown at home.
I chose this design because it incorporated some of my favourite colours and has a delicate yet bold design. The fabric is a lightweight cotton/modal blend which drapes beautifully. I am wearing it below with my Kalle shirt dress (more to come on that another day!).
I also asked if Safiyyah could share some insights into her career and inspiration. I was especially interested to learn about how she became involved in Textiles and how she gained the support of the Prince’s Trust.
What was your career path to becoming a textiles designer?
Deep down I always knew I would end up doing a creative degree. I did look into other options, such a Maths and Psychology, but in the end designing was where my heart lay and felt most content. I graduated with a BA HONS at BCU doing Textile Design. My University years were the years I really discovered my style and look as a designer. After University I took a break and decided to enter the world of education as a teacher. As much as I enjoyed the job, I found there was a huge part of me that was lacking and I really missed the creative process as a designer. I remember a time when I was mid-way through my teaching career and realising how much I missed designing. I remember thinking ‘one day I will have my own line, one day I will get into it again’. It was just a matter of time.
I had always felt like this creative part of me needed to be expressed but life was happening. I was busy working hard to build my career as a teacher and had recently got married. Unfortunately, it took a very sad and tragic time to bring out my creative side. Personally, I feel that my creative forces thrive with adversity and challenge. I had a couple of miscarriages, which really took an emotional toll on me. I needed to take time off work and slow down due to work pressures coupled with what had happened to me. I just needed that time to recover. So, I found myself spending more and more time in my garden and really felt as though the flowers that surrounded me were my therapy. As cliché as it sounds, being outdoors surrounded by nature is one of the greatest healers. It helped me move forward and feel so much more positive about my life. That was the year I thought my garden looked good enough to win an award – I had put so much of my heart and soul out there that it naturally steered my camera lens to taking the first few photos that inspired my collection. Anyway, here I am now with ‘Safiyyah Studios’ feeling happy, proud, and pleased I have got this far.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My inspirations come from all sorts of different places; this could be photography, other paintings, ceramics, prints, Pinterest, interior and styling magazines, different crafts and of course nature itself!
I found whilst studying at University, my initial starting point in all my projects usually began with some photographs. I would manipulate them and play around with the different possibilities on Photoshop and that’s how I would begin the design process. I found the one common theme that would run through all my projects was pretty, playful, delicate florals. Even if it wasn’t in the specification, I would somehow find a way of getting it in there. This is why I decided to pick up from where I left off at Uni with designing my current collection ‘Whimsical Bloom’.
How do you balance your business with family life?
This has been the hardest challenge for me so far, I think. Being a new mum and juggling home life with creative business stuff has been a work in progress. I am a very driven and motivated person when it comes down to getting things done, but painting requires so much more time. I used to paint every time Isla (my daughter) would have a nap, and at the start that was three solid hours of painting, but she is growing up so fast which means more and more of my time is spent keeping her stimulated. Whenever I do get a free moment I am thinking, planning and doing all things creative for my business. The sacrifices have been that I am not really getting time to do anything I enjoy outside of my business, such a baking, gardening, redecorating, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to be ok with as I really LOVE what I do!
Who is your favourite artist/designer?
My favorite designer or artist goes as follows
And of course
I could name many more but these are the main ones I love to follow.
What has been the biggest challenge in setting up your business?
My biggest challenge has been time and wanting to do so much more then what I have already. I value time so much more then I have ever done now that I have a child of my own. Prioritising is key!
What’s next for Safiyyah Studios?
I have many plans for ‘Safiyyah Studios’. I would like to start selling my paintings, create another collection of scarves eventually, and approach Selfridges and other major retailers to sell my work with them. These are my main plans with lots of changes and updating in between. I have a plan of action but I would also like to go with the flow, as for me it is about really enjoying the journey and the experiences it brings.
Thank you to Safiyyah for the fascinating interview and for the beautiful scarf. I wish you all the best in your venture and look forward to seeing your journey!