We’re very excited to introduce a series of interviews with some of this year’s One Year On exhibitors. Kicking things off are Hannah Croft, who produces crystallised fabric under the business name MUUNA, and Chloe and Annie, who work together to design and make their bespoke screen-printed fabric.
Tell us the story behind you and your business. How did you become interested in design?
Hannah: It’s been quite a long road for me. I’d always been interested in fashion and costume particularly the details, embellishment and the haptic qualities of the fabric. After graduating I moved to London and eventually ended up working for a well-known industry fabric house. While I enjoyed many elements of my job and learnt so much about the textile industry, it wasn’t a particularly creative role and I missed designing, particularly the hands on making of textiles.
Chloe & Annie: We met while we were both studying on the same course. We both shared a love for screenprint and soon buddied up in the print room; helping each other out with our large scale pieces. Always working together, everyone knew us as ‘Chloe and Annie’. From showing our work at New Designers 2015, we both got offered jobs on the same print team, which helped kick-start our business together; Chloe and Annie.
Where did you study and what was the most useful thing you learnt from / best things about your course?
Hannah: I went to Brighton to study BA in Fashion Textiles with Business studies. Afterwards, once I’d seen the extensive facilities available, I enrolled on the MA Textiles Design Innovation course at Nottingham Trent University. Studying for my MA has totally changed my creative practice. It was a lot more self-directed than BA, meaning I had the freedom to develop my research across different disciplines within textiles. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to set up on my own had it not been for the course, and the support I had from my tutors.
Chloe & Annie: We studied Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors at Bath School of Art and Design. The head of the course, Amanda Goode, encourages new ways of thinking, pushing every element of the design process: drawing, colour and innovation. It was there that we began to realise the importance
of colour and how fundamental it is to design.
What inspired you to start your business?
Hannah: It’s become apparent to me that there probably isn’t a full-time role that exists in industry that encompasses the variety of work I want to do creatively- so becoming self-employed and thus creating my own job was the obvious next step for me post-MA.
Chloe & Annie: We both always wanted to have our own businesses, we’d even thought about setting up together before we’d graduated in 2015. But it wasn’t until we both got jobs as digital print designers that we realised how much we missed the hands on approach of screen printing. We’d leave work excited to go home and work on our self-directed projects, so setting up a business together seemed a natural progression.
Give us an insight into your thought process to design your work – where does your inspiration come from?
Hannah: Anything can trigger an idea, even the materials themselves. I am quite process led so often the techniques I adopt can inform design too. Aesthetically – texture is very important to me. Visually I’m drawn to more abstract imagery, particularly scientific photography and film.
Chloe & Annie: We’re inspired by still life paintings of the Dutch Masters and the everyday, from market stalls to gardens. The designs for our bespoke fabric evolve through drawing and
painting with a strong focus on colour, creating prints that become the focal point of the interior; a piece of art. Colour is key within our designs; initiating the originality and personality that reflects our style.
What one technique, material or tool could you not live without?
Hannah: Other than my hands, the piece of kit I now cannot live without is my loom. It’s a 32 shaft electronic dobby hand loom – I can design and program the weave structures on the computer which really speeds the design process up.
Chloe & Annie: One material we couldn’t live without is newsprint as this is what our stencils are made from, and what makes each piece unique.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? / What piece of advice would you give to this year’s graduates?
Hannah: The initial period post-graduation can be hard for many, and it can sometimes take a while to find the right the direction. Perseverance and positivity is key.
Chloe & Annie: “Don’t worry how the piece will look, how it will turn out, just go and have fun with the process” – Amanda Goode
What have you designed that you’re most proud of? / What project are you most excited about at the moment?
Hannah: My crystallised fabric samples are always the pieces I am most excited about as they are the most experimental and the nature of the process means a unique and often unexpected result. I have just completed a film short which showcases the process and over the summer will be making a fashion film to further explore the concept.
Chloe & Annie: We’re very excited and proud about showing new work at New Designers One Year On! From
previous success as graduates at New Designers 2015, we feel One Year On is the perfect platform for our business.
Where do you want to be One Year On from now?
Hannah: Ultimately the aim with MUUNA is to become a 21st century atelier that presents directional concept swatches and applications for woven, embroidered and mixed media textiles. I hope to challenge perceptions of what ‘fabric’ is by offering new dimensions of materials.
Chloe & Annie: One year on from now we’d like to be working on more commissions and collaborations with other new and exciting designers! (A bigger studio would also be lovely.)