Designer Insight: Heather Moore, Skinny laMinx

Tell us a little about where you're from and what you do.

I'm a South African illustrator and designer, living and working in Cape Town. I design and produce fabrics, homeware, and stationery for my brand Skinny laMinx, which we sell from the Skinny laMinx shop in Cape Town, from our online shops and via our wholesale stockists around the world.

I love my job as there's always a lot to learn. On one side, I get to spend crafty time in the studio dreaming up patterns, designs and products, and on the other, I also have to face the facts about the business side of things - how much it costs to make something, and whether or not it's a feasible option. As my education was completely unrelated to anything I do now, I've had to learn about all aspects of design and production - how to style, shoot and edit photographs, how to open a shop, manage people, and all manner of 'internetty' things too. I'm also really fortunate to work with a truly top notch team of people, including my super-organised business partner Pearl Thompson.

Can you describe your creative process and the techniques you use to produce patterns?

Quite often I don't really start out with the intention of creating a pattern. I'll mess around in my studio, doing some paper cutouts or paintings, and I'm always sketching things around me too. Then, when the need arises or the mood strikes, I'll scan the cutout/drawing/painting into my computer and work it up to a pattern in Illustrator, trying out colour ideas along the way.

What are your biggest design influences?

I'm definitely influenced by a mash up of things from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The design style, mood and colours of the mid 20th century - in furniture, graphic design and architecture - all resonate with me for their clean forms, clean lines and tertiary palette. 

How did you start your business?

I like to say that this business is simply a hobby that got out of control. In 2006, having worked from home as a freelance illlustrator for about 10 years, I needed a change, so I took up a studio and a part-time job as a comics stripwriter and my husband gave me a screenprinting kit for my birthday. I started making paper cutouts and screenprinting designs onto fabrics in my studio and then I started blogging about what I was up to. I opened an online shop on Etsy, and started selling my printed cushions and tea towels.