Jane Swansbury’s Shrine of Animals

Young people: today you can hear talking about this recurring topic everywhere. It’s well known how much people love talking by fake or invented categories. And as usual it tends to put everyone in the same basket. But Enquire has turned the collective basket in a magician’s hat, from which it has picked up one of the youngest and promising designers: Jane Swansbury, just graduated at the Revensbourne College of London, where she showed her collection God of The Animals on last June – a whirlwind of Hawaiian shirts and psychedelic drawings as the current season dictates.


Hi Jane! How are you? We imagine that you had to work strongly for your degree project, so how are you spending your summer? Are you going to meet us in Italy?

I am very good, thank you! The sleep I have managed to catch up on since finishing is amazing! Well, normally I spent my summer working/interning and going to festivals but this year I can only afford Bestival in September so up until then I am on the fashion job hunt like many other people about London. I would love to come over to Italy, I haven’t been since I was a little girl when our family use to travel all the way by coach to Italian campsites. I’d like to think if I went now it would be by plane – tent is fine – just not by coach please!

Before introducing your last creations, we’d like to know something about you and your fashion education. How would you describe yourself? We read on your website www.janeswansbury.com that you come from North East, so how many years have you lived in the UK capital?

I’d describe myself as a pretty average girl, although my friends think I’m a little insane. I’m from a small village in Stockton-on-Tees which is near Middlesborough, that men usually know because of football. I’ve been in London three years since I moved down here for university. There’s a lot of people interested in fashion back home, increasingly fashion has changed over the past few years, I see less and less chavs when I go back home.


Studying in London is the dream for everyone who wishes to start a fashion career. Are you pleased with your choice? Or would you change something that happened?

I could have easily stayed near home to do fashion but I chose London because I wanted something new and exciting, and of course it being the capital everyone told me it was the best place to be when studying fashion and I completely agree. You have a lot of opportunities right at your footstep with London, being the home of many fashion publications and designers, making work placements more possible. If only I had known more three years back and had the guts that I do now, I would have loved to have studied abroad, especially Antwerp but I think thats greatly to do with my love for Walter Van Beirendonck.

You seems a very pure and straightforward girl. Thanks to our chatting, we could understand what a very young designer dreams and thinks about possibilities that the fashion system presents to young students. So what would you like to tell us about that? Do you believe there is enough attention to the new talents?

Everyone knows that it’s extremely hard for someone to become an established designer, it takes so much. I personally would love to work along side someone else, collaborations can be really interesting when it’s two people that work ethics aren’t completely the same. I believe there is a lot of attention to young talents, with things like Graduate Fashion Week, Fashion Scout, and Fashion East, it truly shows that here in the UK there is a lot of push to get talented people noticed and into the fashion industry.


Your graduated collection God of the Animals strikes for use of vivid colors and natural motifs. What was your inspiration? Who does the printed face belong to?

Shrines were what inspired me, from the religious to the personal and from that I decided to create my own shrine to the ‘God of The Animals’ that is Sir David Attenborough. Elements of flowers and leaves reflecting florally clad shrines and Attenborugh’s love of nature. So if you haven’t of guessed all ready, the face is my drawing of Sir David. You have to do a project that you will enjoy and won’t get bored of because you are surrounded by it all hours of the day for over 6 months, so that’s why I chose to do something fun, involving animals, and the legend that is Sir David Attenborough.

Describe your collection in five words:

Bizarrely amusing animalistic Attenborough threads.

Your models wore a fun and at the same time disturbing pair of sunglasses. Why? Was there a particular reason?

I wanted to keep the summer vibe and with the slight underlining 90s hip hop trend influence in the collection I felt the shape of the glasses fitted in, the scary lizard eyes, they just made it more interesting blending in with the theme of animals.


In your collection, is there an item do you prefer than others?

A lot of people like the animals mating printed gold glitter items which i’m glad I went through with making as my tutors hated the idea of me using that fabric and told me not to use it, but sometimes you have to stick to your guns although I did have a love/hate relationship whilst sewing it, covered head to toe in glitter for days.

What materials did you use for your creations? How did you achieve that gold effect? It remind us, even if not nearly, the logo of Louis Vuitton. We are sure you didn’t want to refer to the French luxury brand, but we take this opportunity to ask you which big designers you like and who would you like to work with.

Being a print designer, I used mainly fabrics I could digitally print or transfer print onto. Digital printing is the best way for strong vibrant colour and natural fabrics so I used this technique for silk and cotton. Heat transfer printing is the best for synthetic fabrics; the golden top that reminds you of Louis Vuitton is actually a mixture of David Attenborough’s CBE medal and a peace sign, with some hand drawn animal heads on top that are printed onto thin gold fabric bonded to a thin cotton to give it structure. I mentioned previously about liking Walter, who is up there with Comme des Garcons, Prada, Givenchy. I would be honored if I ever got the chance to work with any of them. Can a girl dream?


Of course! She must dream! So where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

I’ll still be young and ideally I would love to be in a different country, learning new things yet for the time being I’m wanting to just carry on experimenting with print and developing my menswear skills.


What more can we add? Good luck Jane!