Interview with Book of Deer
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Eilidh Ho, the designer behind the beautifully, feminine fashion label, Book of Deer. I was so chuffed when Eilidh got in touch with me about her label and new S/S 2012 collection. I immediately took a look at her work and did a little bit of reading up about her. When I saw her new collection, it was just my cup of tea. Inspired by the Mori Girls of Japan, these gorgeous garments, all hand drawn and digitally printed, feature whimsical illustrations of birds, woodland creatures and pretty florals; each print telling a different story. Doesn’t Book of Deer just makes you want to gather a picnic together, grab a book and spend the day outside with the birds, all peaceful and quiet like? I was keen to find out some more about the designer behind the brand and what inspires her creatively. I put together a few questions for her to answer so I could share them with you.
Eilidh Ho // 25 years old // Hong Kong // www.bookofdeer.com
I’d love to hear more about you and your background – where are you from, where did you grow up and where did you study?
My Dad is Chinese and my Mum is Scottish. I was born in Edinburgh and moved to Hong Kong as a baby. When I was 18 I moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins.
You’ve been in the fashion industry for several years now, how did Book of Deer come about and why did you decide to take the plunge by yourself?
I had been brewing the brand image in my mind for a while but it wasn’t until I moved back to Hong Kong in 2010 that the timing felt right. I spent a long time researching and gathering inspiration before creating this first collection, I just wanted to see what the response was and see if there are other girls out there who like the Book of Deer look.
We have something in common, I’m half Chinese too, my mom is Chinese and my dad, English. Having a mixed background influences my designs in many ways, would you say it was the same for you?
I would say coming from a mixed cultural background has given me a different perspective on cultural identity. I appreciate cultural aesthetics with a detached point of view and therefore have always had an interest in how one culture can perceive another. The Mori girls that inspired Book of Deer’s first collection emulate a western ideal of rural living. Their reinterpretation of European fairytales and Scandinavian woodlands really captured my imagination.
Your S/S 2012 collection is inspired by the Japanese Mori Girl subculture, aside from this, what else would you say influences your print designs?
I have always loved cartoons and childrens books so I would say that illustration has been a big influence in my design style. I also find aesthetic inspiration from all the diverse bloggers who capture beautiful moments from everyday life.
Would you mind telling me a bit more about the process behind making your own label, from first sketch to final garment on the hanger…
I start with researching and coming up with the season’s theme, brainstorming and curating image folders on my desktop. I then begin with the prints as these tell the narrative and story behind the collection. The prints are quite time consuming and I often do several versions of each before deciding which ones will make the final collection. The garment shapes come next followed by the sampling process. The next stage is development of prints, trimmings, colours, fabrics and involves both personal sourcing and liaising with manufacturers. After several rounds of prototypes and finalising all the details we make final samples of each design.
What’s a day in the life of Eilidh like?
I wake up pretty early and do a bit of blog surfing before I get down to answering emails. I have ongoing email exchanges with my production which at the moment is mostly regarding the development of next season. If I have designing or illustration to do I can become quite absorbed in it and like to have a few uninterrupted hours for that. The best days are when I can devote a whole day to doodling!
And what do you love most about what you do?
Undoubtedly it is the freedom of creative expression that comes with designing for yourself.
It sounds like you’re really passionate about your work, but you must take some time out from designing, what do you like to do when you’re not creating?
I’m addicted to shopping in markets and studying the trends in the cheap fast fashion malls around Hong Kong. I particularly like the ones in Mong Kok that are a perfect snapshot of whats hip in Japan and Korea at any given moment. I like to observe pop culture as this always informs and trickles into how we dress.
So what’s next for Book of Deer, where do you see your brand heading?
This is the first season for Book of Deer so I aspire to see it grow and develop, maybe eventually even have my own shop. I see Book of Deer as an international brand and hope it strikes a chord with girls all around the world.
What advice do you have for other aspiring designers?
Stay true to your style and believe in yourself, the rest comes naturally.
It’s been great chatting to Eilidh and finding out more about Book of Deer. You must check out her online boutique, there’s so many beautiful things to add to that ever growing wishlist.