Everyone wears leather or denim jackets now, it’s got a bit boring and stale. But then we saw Marina of & The Diamonds fame sporting an incredible diamond tapestry design on the back of a leather jacket and boom, we were back in the game. A few emails later and LIAM HAYNES was quizzing Zoe Graham on her influences, the design process, and what it’s like to have such great exposure.

What was your artistic background/activity like as you grew up?

I’ve always been heavily into all kinds of arts, I love to paint and draw. My Mum is an artist and she was the one that started me on tapestry; she’s been making designs like this since she was young. I’m now at Kingston University studying fashion design and hope to go on to have my own menswear label.

Where do you live now? Does it influence you?
I live in Ealing but I grew up in Hampshire and my Mum still lives there. The countryside is inspiring to our designs as the designs are all mythical takes on birds and plants, so we start from looking at nature. My Mum also collected lots of really interesting objects from her travels. She lived in India, Nepal, and Italy. These have all had some influence but Indian art especially.

Your pieces have been spotted on some artists we love to death, how does it feel to have that kind of exposure?
Its great to have this exposure, but its mainly down to my friends being really supportive and helping out whenever and wherever they can. Marina from Marina & The Diamonds is a friend of mine and she is really great at helping with exposure. I’ve made her a special diamond design on a leather jacket and hopefully I will be making some for the band Golden Silvers as well. Obviously it helps that they like them too!

Where do you draw the inspiration for your jackets from?
I look at psychedelic posters, album covers, art & fashion from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is a big inspiration as my Mum was brought up in that era and she was the one who started drawing them, I then decided to put them on jackets and make them into a fashion thing as i thought they were so original.

At the moment the jackets are commission only, where do you see yourself going in the future with what you produce?I want to start making them much faster now (it takes two months to make one tapestry) as the profile is going up, but I do really want to keep them handmade and obviously fair trade is important too. I think without this they will lose some of their charm  so we’re looking into it at the moment.

What’s the weirdest design you’ve made/been asked to make?
I wouldn’t really say that anything weird has been asked yet? I guess one of my friends wanted me to make her one of her rabbit but I didn’t as I couldn’t see how a rabbit would look cool? Otherwise my mum and me come up with some pretty weird ones, like the more gothic ones inspired by The Horrors which were of birds eating eyes with blood dripping out. Looked cool though!

Zoe’s pieces are currently available by email commission, although a website is in the works.