We are delighted to introduce the first homeware collection from our new EDITION designer, Laura Oakes, available exclusively at Debenhams.
Renowned for her individual approach to interior design, Brighton born designer Laura Oakes has designed an exquisite homeware collection using her unique signature style. Drawing inspiration from the world around her – whether flora and fauna, an animal, travelling or even dreams – Oakes creates richly detailed homeware, furniture and textiles using layer upon layer of diverse and eclectic imagery. In the creation of this collection, she used antique illustrations, vintage photographs and her own drawings and photography to create a story of lost and found treasure. The final products boast a bold colour palette to evoke a sense of drama and instantly add depth and character to the home.
Laura Oakes Q&A
We caught up with the designer herself to find out a little bit more about the collection and the inspiration behind it.
How would you describe your signature style?
I create my ‘digital decoupage’ style by layering a multitude of eclectic imagery – antique illustrations, photographs and textiles – with a combination of my own photography and drawings. Within these layers of muted vintage tones, I fuse an original, neoteric colour palette with a strong narrative which gives each piece its own personality.
Tell us about the design process?
I have an obsession with collecting things with an emotional attachment, I communicate through visual media, scanning texture on texture to create a 3D element. I really go into the piece, evoking nostalgia, romanticism, travels, history, time and the happier side of life.
I visit flea markets and boot fairs, finding physical objects – photographs, drawings, books, flowers, sand, watches – that I collect and scan into the computer.
When I sit down at the computer with all the physical elements all around me, I just switch off and l can’t explain what happens, I start to just see colour, texture and written narrative. It can take me an instant to create an image that I am happy with, or it can take months of effort. My creativity evolves from the quiet darkness of the night.
Tell us about your design background
After completing my illustration degree at Westminster, I went on to study for my MA in film at St Martin’s College of Art. I then got offered a job at a top advertising agency but decided not to go for it, get out of London and set up my own company! The rest, as they say, is history.
What/ who inspires / influences you?
I’m not specifically influenced by artists and I find galleries really difficult to feel connected to. I don’t have a television but I am heavily influenced by music, film and literature, more so than particular artists. Having travelled around the world, I am also inspired by exotic flowers, the sea and natural elements.
There are people from all areas that I admire more than am influenced by, such as the prolific German-born, American writer – Charles Bukowski, artist – Frieda Kahlo and quirky French illustrator/ designer – Natalie Lete. I am inspired by naïve paintings and literature, abstract words, feelings and thoughts.
Tell us about your upcoming collaboration with Debenhams…
My collection for Debenhams is based around lost and found treasure and what it means to you. It could be an animal, travelling, a rainbow or even a dream being fulfilled.
How did the collaboration with Debenhams come about?
I believe everyone has the right to own art; it should be accessible, not elitist. When Debenhams approached me, I felt it was a great way of making my work accessible to a wider audience whilst not losing any integrity within my designs. My designs are complex and create texture and depth where there is none. They are layered and each has its own narrative, my clients delve into the stories attached to them. Above all I didn’t want to dilute my own designs to create this collection and that was a key factor in the process which I am thrilled that we have achieved.
What is your prediction for trends of the future?
I don’t really believe in trends; people in high fashion set the trends, then people follow them. I believe you just have to be true to yourself and follow your own style.
Any interior design advice?
Don’t rush into changing or creating looks. Let the spaces speak to you by living with them first and then go from there.
What’s your favourite item from your current Debenhams collection (SS15), and why?
I love the mirror, I thought it wasn’t going to work but Debenhams helped execute this really well. In truth, I love the collection as a whole as I worked on the designs all at once, the colours of the swan boat cushion and the storage boxes really captivate the imagination.
What is your biggest achievement?
Achieving a First in my degree which led to me getting my place at St Martins was a huge achievement. I worked really hard for my First, alongside a full time job. A tutor named Timo really influenced me at the time. There was a print project that I just really didn’t feel comfortable with doing but he said if I could go away and complete the project in my own alternative way then I could do it my way and that project ended up in all tube stations across London.
What are you working on now?
I will be concentrating on my next season’s exclusive collection for Debenhams, using my signature design techniques to create new Edition pieces.
Here are a few of our favourite pieces from the collection:
Shop the Edit: Clockwise from top left – ‘Go Seek’ wall art, Green animal printed storage boxes, ‘Lily Bloom’ scented candle, Pink rose garden cushion, Dressing table floral printed mirror and ‘Go Seek’ trinket dish
Do you fancy being one of the first to have a Laura Oakes/EDITION piece in your home? Simply find the key hidden on one of our Laura Oakes product pages online and you could win the pink jaguar lair cushion and the ‘Go Seek’ wall art. Simply tweet us @Debenhams telling us where you found the key using #DebsLauraOakes for your chance to win.
What are you waiting for? Start searching for the hidden key here.
Competition starts Thursday 19th March at 12pm and closes Friday 20th at 12.01 pm. View all T&Cs here.
Which is your favourite piece?
(Images courtesy of @livingetcuk, @lauraoakesrye and @GlamourMagUK)