Earlier this month we caught up with designer Bella Freud to discuss her exciting new collaboration with artist Gillian Wearing and publisher Plinth. Inspired by the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK, this new range of merchandise will be available online and in store.
How did the collaboration with Gillian Wearing come about and what was the working process like?
I was approached by Paul from the Plinth project about working with Gillian. I love her work, and we met and that was it.
Are you a big David Bowie fan and when did you first hear the song Suffragette City?
David Bowie was an influence without even knowing it, they are the songs you never forget. We didn't have a radio or TV at home so I probably heard it later than most people of my age.
Do you see the fashion industry as having a significant role to play in social change and political movements?
Yes, more than ever. There is a lot of power to be mobilized in the fashion business, we make things visible - and this is key for change in society.
So far you have produce t-shirts and Tote bags – is this the extent of the range or will there be more?
There is a Suffragette tea set coming, it’s so lovely. Kind of punk rock meets Emmeline Pankhurst.
Do you visit the National Portrait Gallery often and is there a particular portrait from the collection that has resonance for you and why?
I go regularly to the NPG, I find it easy to see the works, they are well displayed with no gimmicks and the size of the rooms are good to be in. I like seeing anything to do with my father, they have a great self-portrait, also some wonderful photographs of him.
The Bella Freud x Gillian Wearing suffrage-inspired range is now available in store and from our online shop.
Why not take a look here
Image credit: Lucian Freud by Francis Goodman, circa 1945 © National Portrait Gallery, London NPG x87287