There’s nothing that Fashion Rider loves better than getting to know other professionals in the industry and Leanne Claxton is just one of these individuals.
Leanne is an amazing freelance artist and print designer with an intriguing work history.
Training in Paris under Christian Lacroix, Leanne has also worked both in-house and as a freelance print designer for major brands in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Spain!
But it is now through her own brand that she is uniting art and fashion as one, by printing her floral oil paintings onto luxury scarves as a way of making her artwork more accessible.
What makes Leanne’s brand truly unique is that no two pieces are ever the same and with a passion for the outdoors as well as travelling, her art, as well as fashion, is always on trend.
Leanne’s mix of art and fashion has created a large following on Instagram and in our interview with Leanne below you can also find out some great behind the scenes information as well as advice and the highs and lows of the industry.
How did you train and what was your experience?
I grew up in Lancashire and have always been a Fine Art artist. I studied two Fine Art A-Levels and a Foundation Diploma (specialising in painting) before applying to University. I moved to London in 2002 to complete a BA degree in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins. In 2005, I trained in Paris under Christian Lacroix where I discovered haute couture and the relationship between art and fashion.
Since graduating, I have worked both in-house and as a freelance print designer for major brands in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Spain before making the decision to set up and start my own brand.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started?
To study business!
How will you know when you’re “successful”?
This is a tricky question because I think there are many different levels of success and it can be difficult to judge.
I do believe that simply being able to live off my artwork which is my passion, my love and what I have always wanted to do everyday is in itself successful. I am very happy. Too often people judge success in monetary terms.
About your business:
What work are you most proud of?
I think I am yet to produce the work that I will be most proud of.
What achievement recently has put a smile on your face?
Selling my new luxury scarf collection to customers who really love what I do. I love to see customers get excited about my designs and share my passion for art!
What is the single biggest obstacle for your business success?
If I can only choose one obstacle I would say investment. I am self funded and I have put all my life savings into setting up my own brand. Sometimes only having a small pot of money to play with means that I cannot exhibit as much as I would like, or receive the professional help that I need in order to grow the brand. I have to say that the British Fashion Council have been an amazing support for emerging designers like me who are struggling with little investment.
About the Fashion Industry at large:
What is the most exciting thing happening in Fashion right now?
I think the attendence of the Queen at London Fashion Week last month which was incredibly exciting. Print design Richard Quinn won the Queen Elizabeth II award for British design. His bold and emotive prints are what everyone in the industry at the moment is talking about!
What are the best and worst things about our industry?
I think London Fashion Week is one of the best things about our industry. We have the British Fashion Council supporting British talent with their funding, support seminars and amazing website help designers. The people behind the brands who exhibit are extremely supportive towards each other and I feel like there is a great sense of community. I think the industry has a bad reputation but I don’t know why. My experiences have all been great. Yes there is always competition but I feel like that is healthy and is in every industry anyway.
What are your favourite trends of 2017?
Personally I don’t follow trends very often because I tend to stick to my personal style. But I do like the casual trend of wearing a cool pair of trainers with a dress or skirt. I love my silver converse because they go with anything!
Leanne has to be one of the most optimistic freelancers we have had the pleasure of interviewing. Her mention of success is true. Everyone values this differently and Leanne’s right, in that money isn’t the only thing that defines a person’s success.
When you look to study your favorite subject or go on to develop your passion into a career, it is vital to have some business knowledge and information to help you get started. Using sites such as Fashion Rider to find out useful information, advice, hints and tips as well as looking to the British Fashion Council who can provide advice on areas of funding, all help on your quest to have your questions answered.
Learning from each other also puts our minds at rest that sometimes it’s actually OK to not follow trends, to standout from the crowd and be our own person – isn’t that what fashion is ultimately all about anyway?
If you have a story to tell we’d love to hear it! You can drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
If you would like to find out more about art and print design, becoming a freelance art and print designer or if you’re looking to hire a freelance artist and print designer, then visit Leanne’s contact pages below.