Emma Charles


Interview by Sarah Roberts

Emma Charles is a relative newcomer to the fashion scene, having launched her debut womenswear collection with AW16. Yet her elegant but playful aesthetic has immediately set her apart from the crowd. Emma creates clothes that balance both masculine and feminine traits. And indeed, her work is all about balance; bright colours with luxurious fabrics, and soft femininity with clean lines, widely influenced by her love of vintage menswear.

Having moved to London in 2010 to study at The University of Westminster, Emma gained experience working for several different fashion labels before starting her own, including Tom Ford and Stella McCartney. On graduating from university, she acquired a creative role at Preen, where she spent two valuable years. Wylde speaks to Emma about living in London, her dream collaborators, and the inspiration behind her latest collection.

What, or who, inspires you as a designer?

I am constantly inspired by my surroundings, whether that’s a place, object or the people around me. At the moment I am being drawn to antique objects a lot. I think it is probably the hoarder inside me, but I love the romance of an antique having its own story.

How do you think you London base influences your designs?

London is jam-packed with creatives! I think that just being here, it rubs off on you. Everything you could ever need is here; craftspeople, museums, galleries, parties, friends.

How were your years spent at Preen formative for you?

I loved my time working with the Preen team. Throughout my time there I witnessed first hand the collections coming together to create the show, as well as process after; sales, press, production and finally the e-com site. I think this opened my mind and I recognised quite quickly that the steps in the post-sampling stage are as equally important as the show itself.

Which other designers do you draw inspiration from?

Raf Simons. I believe clothes should be modern and beautiful, when I think of those two words I immediately think of him.

Who would you most like to collaborate with, and why?

I would love to collaborate with the V&A on their Fashion in Motion project. The museum is a really beautiful space and to have such an incredible opportunity to showcase my vision of beauty and modernity amongst the old masters would be very exciting!

Can you tell us a little about your latest collection?

I had a research trip to the middle east, where I found these amazing pearl inlaid coasters in one of the souks. I took inspiration from their elaborate designs, combined with my love for 20s and 30s tailoring. I used Swarovski to eject my modern interoperation of the fringed flapper dresses and men's pin stripes. I wanted to create a woman that is elaborate and beautiful but yet effortlessly ‘cool’.

See more of Emma Charles