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!