Yasmin Smith graduated from AUB in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Textiles. We caught up with her to find out what she’s been up to since.
What originally attracted you to studying Textiles at AUB?
I’ve always loved textiles design and fabric prints. It was during an open day at AUB that I decided Textiles was the right course for me. The facilities on offer, friendly tutors and the eclectic feel of the AUB campus were what ultimately persuaded me to apply for my place on the course.
How did you find your time at AUB? What were the most important lessons you learnt?
I loved my time at AUB, I was able to hone my skills and career path whilst meeting life long friends. I think one of the most important lessons was to really embrace every opportunity, workshop or lecture (no matter how hungover you might be!). Some of the curriculum in those classes still resonate with me now.
Can you explain a little about what you do and any projects you’ve worked on?
I am currently the Designer at Blendworth Interiors. Our studio consists of the Creative Director, Emma and myself. Together we create the collections for the year (both print and weave). All designs are created from scratch, hand drawn and hand painted and then I then work on getting all of the designs into furnishings repeats (on AVA and Photoshop) and in correct colourways, before liaising with suppliers to get them printed and ready to go for collection launch. We launch at Interiors shows twice a year, Paris Deco Off for Spring Summer and Decorex in London for Autumn Winter.
The studio also takes care of any promotional items for a collection, I take care of social media and communications (press packs, brochures etc).
We also have collaborative collections with Textiles Designer, Celia Birtwell. A classics collection which was launched last year and another which we are currently working on for Autumn/Winter 2018.
What is the best bit about your current job?
Creating the designs and being able to paint and draw for a living is something I feel truly lucky to be able to do, but there is nothing quite like seeing my drawings and designs, for the first time on fabric. I am always so excited when the first strikes of the collection arrive in the studio!
Tell us, briefly, about your career journey since you graduated from Bournemouth?
After I graduated, I moved back home to Portsmouth and took the first job I could for a little money in a call centre. I was so unhappy there and spent my time on late night shifts searching for creative jobs online, which is when I stumbled across the opening at Blendworth. I started there as a design assistant in March 2015, helping the studio with colour, design and admin. I was promoted to Designer in early 2017 and it was then that I was able to really get stuck in to the creative aspects of my job.
Can you tell us a little about the work you’re most proud to have produced so far?
Without a doubt, our most recent collection ‘Library’. I have three designs in this collection but spent a lot of time working on repeat and colour work for the other designs, they all mean a lot to me. This collection is also the first since Blendworth International rebranded to Blendworth Interiors in January of this year and I think it is a real representation of what we want to achieve going forward.
Do you have any future career aspirations?
I am currently very happy in my position at Blendworth and look forward to the opportunities that will arise there, but I have always had hopes of going out on my own. One of my best friends is currently doing her masters in Textiles at the RCA and we have always dreamed of going into business together, so that is something we would love to pursue in the future.
Finally, what’s your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?
Without sounding too cliché, I would advise to always stay true to your own styles and handwriting. I have always been quite a traditional designer (I have a huge love of illustrative styles and Victorian textiles). Whilst it is so important to be aware of trends and changing fashions, I think it is just as important to be true to yourself. You’ll be much more confident applying for jobs and promoting yourself if you’re really passionate about what you have created.”