In the dreary post-holiday mindset we’re in, our moods could definitely do with a little brightening up. So it’s pretty lucky we got the chance to catch up with Billie Jacobina, a UK-based designer whose bold, bright and frankly, fucking fun designs are just the thing to shake us out of the to the back-to-work blues. 

When we first saw your collection, we were instantly drawn to the oversized metallic silver and pink fur coat; what’s your fave piece from the collection and why?

—My favourite piece is the longline bomber style jacket that goes over the bra and skirt. This look is called C-Horse and is based on seahorses. Most of my looks are inspired by sea creatures. Seahorses, however are hard to find among the coral, and they stick together. The outside of the jacket is crazy bold colours and print – my own coral reef. Inside the jacket you can see a print I designed with a seahorse motif. I love to think outside-the-box ways to outlay my ideas and designs.

You collaborated with BEAM shoes last year, as part of your final collection. If you could collaborate with any person, designer or brand, who would it be?

—Collaborations are so amazing, I have just come back from Jakarta after a 3 month collaboration with the designer, Lekat. I feel collaborations really push together people who would never think of working together otherwise. My favourite shoes that I own are my Underground creepers, I would love to make some printed styles with fur and sequins!

Billie Jacobina image
“I feel col­lab­or­a­tions really push togeth­er people who would nev­er think of work­ing togeth­er oth­er­wise”

Your previous collection was based on a seemingly strange juxtaposition of Moroccan prints and undersea textures, can you tell us a little more about where that concept came from?

—I am so inspired by the ocean as I grew up by the sea. I can find inspiration in anything from the sea as the colours and the journey is fun and textural. However I started this collection with my mind set that it would be all about my trip to Marrakesh and the patterns and colours I saw whilst there, but my collection needed something else to make it stand out.

Your work has a heavy focus on digital printing, is that something that’s become a trademark of your work that we’ll see in collections going forward?

—Studying a print degree made me realise how powerful and current print is and always will be. I am in love with designing my own prints from paper to fabric and it will always be something I do as it’s what makes my brand me. I also love screen printing with different techniques such as foils – this adds an edge to my work. In Jakarta, the printing facilities weren’t available so we had to think of new ways to get print in to the collection. Batik is huge out there and I learned the technique so I could use it in the collection. It worked really well and I think it’s something I will try in my work going forward.

As you mentioned, you’ve been working in Jakarta as an assistant designer with Lekat. How did you find the experience as a whole?

—Working in Jakarta was an amazing experience. I learned new ways of working and that I want to show in more cities around the world. Indonesia is such an amazing part of the world and it isn’t explored much by westerners, but if you can, it’s worth it. I saw a lot of beautiful things – it’s a truly beautiful country that has lots to offer to the fashion industry.

You’ve had a bit of a whirlwind year; what was the highlight of 2016 for you?

—My personal aim last year was to get a space at Graduate Fashion week and hopefully get a job as a print designer somewhere. Since GFW my life has changed for the better. The feeling of seeing your work walk down the catwalk is amazing and one of the proudest moments I will ever have. Highlights have to be winning Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch – as a graduate, I never thought this would happen. Of course working in Jakarta as well. I have also just been confirmed as a finalist for St Andrews Young Designer Award 2017, so a new collection is on the way!