Interview: BFC’s BA Scholarship Recipient Pip Paz-Howlett

Pip Paz-Howlett

Pip Paz-Howlett is one of three to receive the British Fashion Council’s BA Scholarship. The University of Westminster Fashion Design student is using the funding to explore fabrications and experiment with his prints. To accompany his final menswear collection, Paz-Howlett is even designing accessories to complete the looks. He gained experience with accessories at Louis Vuitton while working as the Assistant Print and Accessories Designer. With three of his print designs for Louis Vuitton in store now, we have high hopes for what he will present at the graduate show.

Congrats, you have just been announced as one the British Fashion Council BA Scholarship recipients. What will this mean for your final collection and next steps?

Thank you very much! Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to experiment and explore new and more thorough ways of printing and fabric manipulation. And as I mainly focus on print and textiles this has been really beneficial to me. It’s also enabled me to use new exciting fabrics that I haven’t used before that would’ve been out of my personal budget. Now, as the deadline is looming, it’s allowing me to start creating accessories to complete my looks.

What was the first thing you ever created?

A shift dress in GCSE textiles. It was so ugly, covered in sequins and dodgy embroidery, and I ended up melting the zip from the back into the front by putting it in the heat press.

You studied Art and Design at Alton College before studying Fashion Design at the University of Westminster. What made you decide to study fashion?

In the first year of BTEC Art and Design you do projects in most fields of art and design, photography, fine art, graphics, illustration and fashion. Fashion was the one I enjoyed most and did best in, and so in the second year you specialise in one of the areas for the whole year, and my textiles and fashion teacher was the best, we got on really well.

Pip-Paz-Howlett-1

How has your art background enhanced the work you produce now?

It made me a lot more interested in print and surface design, I could never buy a fabric from the shop and make it into a garment without changing it in any way, or creating it myself. Whether it be silk screen print, hand painting, dyeing, doing the art and design, BTEC introduced me to all these things.

You have interned at J.W.Anderson, Craig Green, Louis Vuitton and Proenza Schouler. What did you take away from those work experiences? 

At JW Anderson it taught me how to work quickly. It was my first placement and only lasted around 2 months, but we did a mens and womens show in that time, so everything was fast paced and close to the wire.

Working at Craig Green was easily my favourite and most beneficial. I was there for just over half of a year and that’s where I learnt so much about menswear pattern cutting, print, dyeing, styling, ect. It was a great little family to work in, and it was amazing how much a small team can achieve in a short amount of time. Working at Craig during my year out made me realise when I went back to uni that I wanted to do menswear, as in my first and second year at Westminster I was doing both mens and womenswear. Since leaving Craig I still go back to help out on various projects they have going on.

At Louis Vuitton I was working in the womenswear studio as an Assistant Print and Accessories Designer. I was given briefs of prints to work on and create for accessories. It gave me a real eye for colour and detail, as working at such a luxury heritage brand everything had to be absolutely perfect. Around three of my designs are being sold in store currently.

ALSO READ:  Paris Fashion Week
People

Working at Provenza Schouler for three months over the summer in the period leading up to the show taught me a lot about styling and creating looks. I was lucky enough to assist Jack and Lazaro in helping them style and create the looks for the show and for shoots. Now in my own work I like to create pieces and swap them around and create many combinations to find the best one.

Pip Paz-Howlett-3

Can you tell me more about your final menswear collection you will be presenting in May?

I’ve been looking at the boys that went to Acid house raves in the late 80’s and early 90’s, looking at how dishevelled they looked after a night of dancing on pills. I wanted to create a collection that appeared to have been danced off the body, showing skin and having enough room for them to move in. The print and fabric manipulation is inspired by what they would’ve seen on their trip. Bright colours deregistering your eyes and making it confusing and hard to look at – in a good way, hopefully.

What signature would you like to become recognised for?

I would like to be recognised for my excessive use of print, I’m pretty sure every square inch of my collection has print on it.

What is your favourite part about designing a collection?

The moment when you finally start to see the potential in it and see it come together. I’ve got quite a lot of garments made at the moment and I’m enjoying combining them with each other and playing around to see what looks I can create.

Pip Paz-Howlett-2

Who, or where, do you turn for inspiration? 

I found a great website called the PYMCA Photographic Youth Music Culture Association, that has an enormous archive of photographs from all types of music events over the last five years. I enjoy it because it’s like people watching, which is one of my favourite things to do. For this collection I also took a lot of inspiration in terms of colour from my favourite band The Knife. I have all their records and the vinyl sleeves and posters that come with them have such amazing art work on them in the most amazing colours.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I would love to carry on developing my own design aesthetic, maybe a Masters degree, but I would love to specialise in print and knit, because there’s so much more I’d love to learn. I think I would want to do a year out working, saving money, and seeing a bit of the world before coming back to London to continue studying. But who knows what will happen!

Interview: Janine Leah Bartels

Images courtesy Pip Paz-Howlett

Pip Paz-Howlett-4