Name and company : Frances Gabinsky.
Website : www.franceslindesay.com
Instagram : @frangabinsky
Where are you based? : London / Moscow
What brought your company to life, tell me a little about your story so far?
Textiles have always fascinated me. Whilst studying textiles at Central St Martins, I specialised in Fashion Print before working for a series of designers from Celine to Diane Von Furstenburg. With a view to eventually starting my own print company, I currently work between London and Moscow, collaborating with a broad spectrum of designers from fashion to interior design.
Biggest achievement so far?
The opportunity to design an entire print collection for Moscow Fashion Week in 2014. Living and working in Russia has always been challenging, but I was thrilled to have control of this project from conception to production, as well as the final presentation on the catwalk.
Biggest challenge so far?
I am always happy to admit, being a Scottish designer in Moscow has always had its highs and lows. When I first arrived in Russia, I was offered a job working for a very popular designer, Masha Tsigal, where I was given the responsibility of contributing designs to their next collection. Inevitably, it was quite a challenge dealing with a team of people and factories who didn’t speak a word of English when I was yet to speak any Russian. However the project was a great success.
Biggest lesson learnt so far?
That you can find inspiration and succeed anywhere. Nearly ten years ago, friends of mine, Marina and Phil, left London with their children for an adventure in South America. Whilst spending time exploring deeper into the Andes, they were inspired by the quality of the alpaca yarn and organic cotton. This soon led to the launch of their successful children’s wear brand, Waddler, which they developed whilst living a nomadic life between Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Scotland and Ireland.
What keeps you fascinated in working with textiles and in print design?
Whether in terms of colour, texture or provenance, I have always been interested in understanding and combining the contemporary with the traditional. This is not only in respect to design but also to the source of the textiles themselves. I once found myself amongst a nomadic tribe in the Himalayas, marvelling at the hours that they spend tending to their pashmina goats. It reminded me of the tradition, commitment and effort that go into producing so many textiles.
What elements of travel and adventure have inspired your work?
During my honeymoon, we travelled to Sumba Island in Indonesia, which is known for its Ikat weaving. Each piece is deeply symbolic and reflects the individuality of both the weaver and their village’s traditions. My trip to India in 2015 was truly fascinating for being able to see newly dyed cotton drying in the sun and vast tables of screen-printing. It was motivating to realise that there are still parts of the world that have not gone completely digital.
A piece of wisdom you would give to someone starting up in your industry.
You have to believe anything is possible. When I was 19 years old, I was very upset not to be accepted into the college that I had spent all year working towards. With no immediate plans, I came across an embroidery and print position online at Alexander McQueen. I applied for it without any real hope, knowing that I did not have any previous experience, let alone a degree. However, I was asked for an interview in London, where I got the job, and was helping design the Fall collection two weeks later.
Do you plan to branch out into a productive range?
Yes, I dream of my prints going onto everything from shirts to dresses and swimwear, but there may be a long way to climb before that happens.
Where is your next Nomadic adventure going to be and with what intention?
Growing up in Scotland has been a blessing. I always think back to the rich, organic colours changing through the different seasons. I will be spending August in the Highlands, which reboots my inspiration and gives me the perfect setting for thinking up my next project. Later this year, I also hope to travel to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to see embroidery and tribal textiles being made. Over the past few months in Moscow, I have started collecting handmade Uzbekistani textiles from our local market. Each piece is an inspiration in its own way, being completely original and beautifully crafted.
What does being a nomad mean to you?
Remaining both free and flexible with my time and energy, with the ability and the luxury of being able to adapt to living and working all around the world.