Meet The Maker - Millie Bridget Henry
September 2018 sees Budd add a new collection of pocket squares to our range. Designed by young, up and coming British textile designer, Millie Bridget Henry, they breathe a new contemporary twist into our geometric silk ranges and definitely cause you to look twice. It is great to see Millie’s passion for textiles come to the fore and her dream to fruition. The Budd team have known Millie since she first worked on Savile Row a few years back, where her discerning eye for colour and pattern was immediately evident. Millie decided to strike out on her own a short while back and develop her first collection and we are very glad she did.
Budd stocks nine designs by Millie Bridge Henry, available by limited edition both in store and online.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I come from a creative family. My father is an architect and musician and my mother a sculptor. My siblings too have followed design based professions. I was raised on the edge of a small estate in Buckinghamshire, not too far from London, but rural enough for me to appreciate life in the countryside. I studied Textile, Fashion & Fibre at the Winchester School of Art and specialised in Textiles Print Design. After graduating in 2010, I was selected by the university to exhibit at New Designers in Islington, where I showcased my work to industry leaders. I interned at various fashion companies building my experience and portfolio and then decided to take time out to travel in 2012. I travelled and worked for 15 months around New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and South East Asia. I took lots of inspiration from the beautiful countries I travelled documenting the experience through photography and my sketchbook. I still refer back to these adventures even now and long to return.
Upon returning to the UK in 2013, I joined the team at eponymous tailoring house, Huntsman on Savile Row as a Product Development Assistant. My time there really shone the light on my love for men’s accessories and gained me invaluable experience within the industry. Upon leaving Huntsman, I started work at Buckingham palace with an incredible team of conservators providing a conservation service to the Royal Collection. This role is part time and gave me the freedom to think about my next step, and it was then that I decided to set up my own company.
Once I made the decision to set up my own business I had an interesting year and massively rewarding learning curve. I interned at Zandra Rhodes, applying to the company as she has always been an icon to me. I was keen to work alongside her to learn a little about how her studio works. She is one of a few designers that make everything in house from screen-printing the initial sample, right through to the final product. To be given the opportunity to screen print some of her famous designs and to look through her archive collection fuelled by desire to get cracking with a studio of my own.
Working part time has given me time to research, design and develop my business. I contacted The Princes Trust to take part in the Enterprise programme and they have been an incredible source of information and support providing me with a mentor to help make the business successful.
What is your design process?
All of my designs start off in my sketchbook taking inspiration from mood boards, photography archives, my travels and and other research. I then bring all the drawings together creating a linear motif. These are then scanned in and finished using Photoshop, which enables me to create different colour ways. They are then digitally printed onto silk and finished with a hand rolled edge. I am meticulous about colour and so love the precision and scope that comes with digital work.
Where did you draw inspiration from for your first collections?
My first collection, Labyrinth is particularly apt when supplying a store like Budd. Budd is synonymous for its work with madder and paisley and I was keen to provide a twist on that. My initial inspiration came from my time working on Savile Row, where paisley patterns are prolific, both for accessories and linings. I decided to create a print inspired by these motifs, but a more contemporised version, with some colourways being more traditional and others very bright, whilst always ensuring that they will compliment a gentleman’s jacket, working with the colours in a tweed or the rich tones and texture of a navy or grey flannel suit.
My second collection, The Enchanted Forest was inspired by the great British landscape and the flora and fauna that make it so beautiful. At first glance you can see a pattern, or your eye may be drawn to a stag or pheasant, but the more you study the print the more of the detail is revealed. Each design has been considered so that the pocket square has the option to be folded in different ways, revealing different elements of the print. I am a country girl at heart and have a closeness with nature that permeates much of what I do. My mother is a sculptor and her work with open spaces has been significant to me over the years. I love the juxtapositions that the great outdoors presents; a stillness that presents ever changing colours and movements.