Gina PIPÉT is the creative designer and founder of accessories label PIPÉT. Trained in the art of pattern design at Winchester School of Art, British born Gina Pipét began her career working for the prestigious fashion house Liberty of London. Following a decade in the fashion industry Gina took her wealth of experience in the luxury fashion and high-end goods sector and launched her eponymous accessories label PIPÉT.
We interviewed Gina ahead of MADE London - Canary Wharf to find out more about her work:
1. How and when did you want to be a maker and how did you start to realize that aim?
I had a very creative upbringing with my father and grandmother both artists and painters who would spend hours practicing their art. I studied Fine Art, Textiles and Photography alongside Psychology at College. During my Art Foundation Diploma that followed we were taught to throw out all the rules and explore what our art meant to us. We tried everything from film & media to modern sculpture, and it was here I produced my first prints onto fabric. After graduating from Winchester School of Art with a degree in Printed Textile Design I set about contacting the best print and fabric companies that I would like to work for. I was offered a 2-month work placement with Liberty of London in their newly formed Luxury in-house design studio, where I ended up working for 5 years.
2. Who did you learn from, who inspires you?
I’ve always admired the work of by Dutch artist M.C Escher. Growing up we had a print of Escher’s Belvedere, on our wall. It was a black and white lithograph, and I was fascinated by the complex elements within his works and the detail in his drawing. He sparked my interest in mathematical tessellation and visual perception - looking at your subject from a different viewpoint. Influencers also include the Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely – the Master of Op Art movement; Mucha, Morris and CFA Voysey for sumptuous patterns; and in contrast the Art Deco style for its geometric opulence.
3. What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire, and why? What can you tell us about your current artwork, for example, do you explore any specific themes or subjects?
I’m fascinated by theories of perception and optical illusion, and you will often see some visual play enter my designs. A lot of my design inspiration comes from places I’ve visited and things around me. I find myself looking a lot to architecture and man-made structures. My photography plays a big part in the development process. Exploring different viewpoints with the camera gives you an opportunity to get up close and personal with a building, and really explore its different angles and elements.My latest collection looks towards London’s Brutalist buildings of the Barbican Center, and it geometric motifs seen within the architecture. I loved creating a design that reflects the personality within the subject, and feel it gives people who know the building a connection to the art.
4. What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques? Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I had been working in the fashion industry for almost a decade prior to setting up my own business. The very first item I made for my brand was a silk hankie for a show at Brixton’s then Printworks Trust. The design had a very fine hand drawn pattern, and was digitally printed in 6 colours on beautiful silk twill at one of the major UK fabric printers. It was the first time I’d used professional manufacturing processes outside of the large companies I’d worked for. Digital printing was just starting to be more accessible with low minimums, and I realized I could create products that were of the same high quality I had become accustomed to. I have a small private studio near the Southbank where I work day to day.
5. How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Since starting the brand I’ve worked on some fantastic commissions for The Royal Academy of Arts and The Fashion and Textile Museum with our scarves and accessories. The creative process is very personal, so having the backing of such institutions has been a real boost in confidence and helping reinforce my design style and aesthetic. Creative flexibility is key to surviving in the current climate. Being a small independent business enables me try out new product lines with minimal risk. I’m proud to work with some very skilled heritage makers, and as a brand we are becoming known and trusted for our high quality design. The aim is to continue to create statement pieces that people love wearing and feel special using, be it a scarf or umbrella or something they’ve made from one of our fabrics.
6. Which book would you recommend as inspiration?
Overview, by Benjamin Grant. Exploring the Man-Made fascinates me and this book does exactly that.