Print Perfect

Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto are not only the driving force behind the brand Eley Kishimoto but are notably one of the most dynamic creative duos in the design & fashion industry. Think colour, excitement & funky couture and you’ll only be half way there in depicting the sheer array of creative visionary within this pair. Established in1992 and dubbed the ‘Patron Saint of Print’ I first locked eyes with the latest Eley Kishimoto wallpaper collection at Decorex 2014. Reinforced by the studio’s 22 years of expertise in pioneering printmaking, what drew me to the brands prints was the fact that not only are they hand screen-printed (a method of printing of which I am extremely fond of) but they also print & manufacture from their South London studio in Brixton. Within this photo-essay the desire to tell the alluring narrative of English screen-printing through the essence of Mark and Wakako was strong. Through this long-established process I questioned both designers on the history of their craft, its importance and the future of the brand. 

How important was it for you to use a more conventional method of wallpaper production as opposed to a modern digital process? 

Very important, we think this is part of the products identity, a part that we cherish, something we can execute in-house with full integrity. Creative execution from mind, hand and eye is something that everyone has the ability to achieve, and we are lucky to have worked within a world that appreciates this act.

What compelled you to launch a wallpaper collection now at this point in your career?

We have been working with friends within the interior and architectural industry for a while so it seemed a natural and organic process for us to make a committed statement to put something out independently under our own banner. Wallpaper is something that we feel that allows people to live with and play with styling pattern in their (home/office/work/shop/ cafe/bank) environment in their own creative way. It can always be painted afterwards and engages public to bring their creative inspiration to the fore by working our patterns in their own circumstance.

How do the disciplines of interiors and fashion interplay with each other? 

We consider the disciplines to be aligned from a creative viewpoint, just a formatting difference. The way a person considers their personal style is translated through many forms of visual and sensual choices. What we are offering is something that touches these desires in a multitude of actions, one currently at the fore is Wallpaper. We offer the opportunity to empower our customer to be brave with their choice, to invest in our aesthetic, and style their surroundings equal to how we would expect a women to choose fashion items or accessories to go with our womenswear separates.

Are there any plans to launch any further homeware collaborations for 2015 and also, are there any plans to extend your collection to other homeware collections such as ceramics, home accessories or a paint collection [for instance]?

We are enjoying the play of Eley Kishimoto Interiors and are already developing further items to launch soon. We have a range of beautiful blankets launching in January and other opportunities to extend to furnishing fabric is only natural. We have produced bone china and ceramics in the past with Narumi and Moorcroft for commercial and creative purpose. The research into purchasing a kiln and printing our own ceramic transfers is currently on the to do list. It is a new arena and we wish to introduce our methods in the correct way and build upon what we are doing slowly and in our unique fashion as always.

Describe a typical day at the Eley kishimoto studio?

Studio awakes at 9.00am each morning and our colleagues all arrive to go about the tasks that are in hand. The print room feels like the boiler room to all concoctions in spirit. The design room busies itself directing the course of events to come, in this room there is design on computer and by hand for fashion, interiors, consultancy and collaboration.

Patterns are being generated both in terms of surface and technical garment construction. The sewing room is constructing fabric from the print room into articles to go to market, the sales and accounts team control the face to the outside world.

Wakako and I set the course for about 1-3 years ahead and enjoy the contact for new relations and creative opportunities that come in by surprise along this route. We all break for lunch at 1pm and slowly leave from about 6pm. On the weekend the team is fully active enjoying the focus without too much disturbance of the outside world, which we all enjoy.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Rita Platts

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