Profile: Textile Designer Imogen Heath

by Kate Watson-Smyth in Bespoke stories

As Brighton-based textile designer Imogen Heath launches her first collection for Heal’s, we take a look at her work. 

Clerkenwell Design Week is a showcase for designers, who hope that the buyers from the big stores will snap up their wares. But Imogen has another trick up her marketing sleeve: social media. These days, if you’re not selling your products and ideas in cyberspace, you ain’t really trying.

Like many designers and small businesses, Imogen only recently set herself up on Twitter and Facebook, but she’s already seeing the benefits. “I’m relatively new to social media and am still getting used to it. I am, not surprisingly, a visual person, so while I love Pinterest, I feel as if I’m still struggling with Twitter. “I’m very keen to get better at it, as social media does allow you to reach a much wider audience than just having your product in a local shop. I’ve only been using it for a short time, but have already seen some benefits. I can get a reaction to my work quickly this way, which is incredibly useful and it allows me to connect directly with my customers, which is important to me.”

This, in a nutshell, is how Twitter helps businesses. Customers are no longer a faceless entity who may choose to buy or walk away. The designer is no longer a lofty being whose work may be showcased in an intimidating way. Through the powers of social media, the two can now connect. There can be a dialogue and thus a relationship is born.

“My work is establishing a new sense of purpose as time goes on and this is because I’m less afraid of getting it wrong.”

Imogen Heath’s Dahlia Fabric

“I have an emotional connection to my work,” says Imogen. “Social media enables this to filter through and allows me to build a stronger connection to those people interested in my work.”

With this in mind, Imogen is about to take another leap into cyberspace by joining The Art of Bespoke as our in-house design blogger. “I think that The Art of Bespoke will become a great resource, not just for people looking for something extra special for their homes, but for anyone with a passion for good design,” she says.

“Admittedly, I’m new to blogging, but I know my stuff when it comes to design and there aren’t many designers or design blogs writing about surface design in the home, so I’m hoping to bring something new.”

So what does Imogen plan to tell us about in her blog posts? “I want to showcase really outstanding and original work that designers are coming up with, and tell people how they can use them in their own homes. I also plan to provide inspirational mood boards for colour, texture and pattern in the home, which I hope will be a great reference for those struggling with ideas on how to update their homes.”

With a new collection ready for pre-order, Imogen has found a new sense of self-confidence, which she says will also inspire her blogging. “My work is establishing a new sense of purpose as time goes on and this is because I’m less afraid of getting it wrong. I’m able to trust my instincts more, staying true to what I like. And with my new designs, this is really shining through.”

Imogen’s background is in fine art, but she trained as a weaver, becoming a weave and print designer after graduating in 2004. In 2011, she received the Princes Trust start-up fund. Heals then asked her to create an exclusive range of cushions for their spring/summer 2012 collection.

Her new range is produced in British mills and digitally printed on a 50/50 linen cotton base. Read Imogen’s forthcoming blog posts to find out more about what inspires her.

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