Volt Café: When did you know that you wanted to be a designer?

Tessa Edwards: I’ve never really wanted to do anything else since I was about eleven. When I was fourteen I made my own label and had it registered and trademarked! It was called ‘Miss E’ with one ‘S’ reverse so they were facing each other, like the Kiss 100 logo! (she cringes and laughs). Yeah I’ve been doing it since I can remember really, sewing stuff, making things, trying to sell them….

VC: Did you make clothes for your Barbie dolls?!

TE: No not my Barbie dolls! But I made clothes for my friends in school!  I used to change their uniforms and stuff…. and then people started wanting it more and more so I made order forms, which I would leave on my desk! People would fill them out and post them back in with their uniforms…. I got in trouble for it quite a few times and eventually my mum made me stop because I was falling behind with my homework… I’d been staying up really late to finish my orders!

VC: Your last collection was inspired by The Book of the Dead. What’s the inspiration behind your current collection?

TE: Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey 2001. It’s really amazing. It’s all about the beginning of time and what was there before…. and then man’s discovery of the tool and the weapon and how that sort of further advanced their civilisation. How they developed but also how they sort of regressed as human beings as a result of this… all the design in the film is just incredible.

VC: How does that translate into the collection?

TE: I’m sticking to a lot of the colour schemes literally… lots of white and black, very dark. Also the idea of it being really sparse and revealing in places… revealing an undertone of natural fabric. Very natural, earthy fabrics versus futuristic. But I don’t make it too literal, I want it to still be the kind of stuff I would want to wear. It’s still developing!

VC: You made some amazing jewellery for your last collection. Are you doing any jewellery for this collection?

TE: Yeah but I haven’t started on it yet. I want to do it as a development from the last collection of jewellery. It was all about magnifying and refracting light… I had these glass domes made,  which were magnifying so the light would go in and make all the crystal underneath go all colourful and distorted. So at the moment I’m thinking circles will definitely continue to be a theme….

VC: Who are you aiming your collection at?

TE: A strong, confident, empowered, creative woman, who knows what she wants and what she likes. She has her own thoughts and opinions and knows how to express them. She’s the kind of woman who gets taxis around town and works hard at her profession.

VC: What is your main inspiration?

TE: I’m really interested in how things go in cycles…. they go but come back…the beginning and the end… I watch a lot of films especially sci-fi. I love powerful female figures in films and how they dress reflects their power and confidence. I also really loved the way women started power dressing in the 80’s and 90’s with the big hair and the shoulder pads!

VC: Describe your own style?

TE: Some days I like to be really comfy and laid-back, other days I like to feel more sexy and womanly. I don’t really go shopping, my wardrobe is more or less a collection of things that I pick up along the way when I’m out and about. I try to avoid trends and throw-away fashion. I like dark colours, black and different tones of red.

VC: If you had to change career what would you do?

TE: I’ve thought about this a lot actually…. There are two things:  I’d love to write music. I can play the drums, the piano and I sing! I love that I have a different way to express myself… Or when I’m older, say around sixty, I’d love to direct films. That would be really amazing. It’s definitely on my list of things for the future.

VC: What gets you excited on an average day?

TE: At the moment just being able to develop ideas and be creative and make dresses… and be able to do all the things that got me into trouble when I was back in school changing my friend’s uniforms! It really excites me being to just explore making things…

Tessa’s favourites….

Designer: Comme des Garçons, Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo

Style Icon: Michelle Lamy, Anjelica Huston

Film: Apocalypse Now

Book: Lord of the Rings

Artist: M.C. Escher

Music: The Doors, The End

Restaurant: Zuma

Café: Bliss in Dalston (greasy spoon!)

Place: Alaska

Store: Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road

Words by Chloe McLuhan



Comme des Garçons, Hussein Chalayan, M.C. Escher, Rei Kawakubo, Tessa Edwards,