Designing for Debenhams: from sketch to store

When I first signed on the dotted line with Debenhams I had little to zero idea how well received my collection would be. Looking back to launch three years ago we actually sold out in four days of the lamps and had to speedily fast-track the production schedule to get more flown in. Crazy! The collection has continued to grow and do so well – now it encompasses accessories, some super cool animal heads, textiles and of course the flocked collection of lamps.
For all my Debenhams collections I want to bring a sense of humour. I’m really lucky in that it’s a chance to experiment, almost like having my own diffusion line. So I gravitate towards creating pieces that instantly make you smile, lighten the mood and bring a touch of irreverence to any place – one of the reasons I think the hare lamp that’s been there since day 1 and it remains one of the strongest sellers.

How do I go about it? Well we start with a moodboard, because there’s no better way of pinning down a vibe for the collection. It might be a British woodland in fall, tropical African wetlands or a Western frontier. Then it’s on to sketches, and really honing into the colours and materials (super important). All the animals in the collection have a bit of a tongue in check vibe. They have attitude they are a little bad ass – “you lookin’ at me?” is what I imagine each of them saying. (Yes, even the hare!)Debehams moodboard


From sketch stage I then get my genius graphic designer Russ to put it into Photoshop and make it look wonderful. This is where we really get to play with patterns, textures and different appliqué ideas, as you can see from this patchwork cushions. It helps me visualise the final look way before samples and swatches arrive to sign off.tiger cushion

The final stage is signing off new collections with the Debenhams design team. We work a year in advance which is a little crazy but so necessary as with moulds/samples etc it takes a lot of time. This is something I’ve learned only too well with wholesale but at least with the Debs collection Debenhams produce it so I don’t have the stress or general worries with quality control or logistics or anything to do with the supply chain. Nice!

UntitledSee my favourite picks from the SS16 Debenhams collection here, or you can shop the whole range over at

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