ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol, currently on display at the Fashion and Textile Museum, traces the history of 20th century art in textiles. The exhibition reveals the accessibility of art in everyday life through clothing textiles to home furnishings. To coincide with the exhibition Creative Hub interviewed Jessica Zoob contemporary painter and Emily Mould, Design Director at Romo, regarding their recent collaboration and the launch of Romo’s Black Edition.
CH How did the collaboration with Romo come to fruition?
JESSICA I was Featured Artist during London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour a few years ago and was lucky enough to catch the eye of the team at Romo who are based there. Last year I was approached to see if I was interested in collaborating with them on their Black Edition Collection for this spring and I was delighted.
CH Can you describe the development process from initial concepts to production?
JESSICA Romo really should take all the credit for translating my paintings into the beautiful textiles and wall coverings they have created. I simply painted the paintings, I know that it has taken a hugely talented team a great number of hours to painstakingly translate them so they work as repeats. I am so grateful they have done it so perfectly.
CH How (if at all) has the collaboration with Romo impacted on your creative process?
JESSICA Now that I have seen what is possible with digital print technology and the depth and clarity of the marks and colours I do keep imagining what current works might look like if Romo were to recreate them as textiles, particularly some of my midnight blues onto velvets!
CH Do you envisage undertaking more collaborations in the future?
JESSICA I very much hope so it has been a total joy so far!
CH The influence of fine art (particularly painting) has been a strong trend in fashion and interiors for Spring Summer 2014. Do you see this as trend continuing?
Emily Absolutely. I think designers have always drawn inspiration from so many different sources and fine art as been no exception to this but more recently, technological advances namely digital printing have opened up a wealth of possibilities within the world of textile design. As textile designers we had previously been restricted by the limitations of traditional printing and weaving techniques. Digital printing is now at the stage that the mark, colour and clarity are of such high quality that it means that almost anything is possible in terms of design and scale. The fashion and interiors world are only just at the beginning of exploring this new found freedom.
CH How did the collaboration between Romo and Jessica Zoob come about?
Emily We initially came across Jessica back in March 2010 when she was Featured Artist at London Design Week, Chelsea Harbour where we have our flagship showroom. Ever since that date we have very much admired her work. In January 2013, we launched our new brand Black Edition and thought that the style of Jessica’s work would fit perfectly with the ethos of the brand. We approached Jessica towards the end of 2012 to see if she would be interested in a collaboration with a view to launching in January 2014.
CH What are the development time frames for a collection such as Jessica’s
Emily The development of the ‘desire’ collection was somewhat unknown territory for us. Our usual design process would involve each design developing step by step from a very early design concept, experimenting with techniques, mark making, layouts and colourations always with the final use in consideration. With the ‘desire’ collection, the artwork (and the hard part) had already been done for us. Jessica allowed us to select form an abundance of beautiful artwork so we were able to see very quickly how the collection was going to take shape. The challenging part, and that which was most time consuming for us, was to then convert the works into designs that were in seamless repeats, always trying to remain true to the original artwork in terms of layout, mark and colouration. This was a very lengthy process. With the designs being so detailed and complex we had to work very precisely with the use of CAD. This was worked on continuously from early 2013 up until the end of July 2013 when the designs were finally ready to be sent for final printing trials. The beauty of the high quality digital printing that we used meant that the files that we had worked so hard to get exactly right were translated straight onto the cloth with very few changes needed.
CH What do you look for from an artist/designer when you decide to collaborate?
Emily When the collaboration with Jessica came about, we weren’t actively looking for someone to collaborate with. We have a strong in-house design team and believe very much in originating our own designs and brand style. When we came across Jessica’s work, however, we were in awe of it and knew that her work was not something that we could simply draw inspiration from. The depth, texture and mark in her work are so individual and unique. We felt as designers that we had a real affinity to her style and could see that her work would translate beautifully onto fabrics and wall coverings for the home and would be the perfect complement to our brand.
The Desire collection launched in February this year. For further details on Jessica Zoobs works and the Romo Black Edition visit
Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol is on display at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 17th May 2014. For more details on the exhibition, please visit the Fashion and Textile Museum.