The world of furniture design is a very complex whole of fairs, production companies, design shops & galleries, consumers, designers, press and more. Where it used to be a process initiated by clients and industry it is now often started by the designers proposing ideas to them or even starting production and sales of designs themselves. Digitisation rapidly changed how furniture is sold and online sales have effects for galleries, shops, showrooms and the visibility of design. How are these systems financed and how do they influence the design world?Mendini recently (2015) declared that ideals in design where gone* , but lately we are urged to take up a 'holistic approach' towards design in Manifestoes** and values like daring, caring and sharing flourish. Can these values be a valid base for new economic models?The third East London studio-salon explores economic parameters and viable alternatives for unpaid positions across the design world. It looks at new models to finance design and to sell it, but also how current critical ideas and Manifestos can become profitable, financially as well as from a 'wellbeing' point of view.
Date & location: 31 March 2016 - Disegno Office, East LondonModerator:Johanna Agerman Ross (founder & Editor-in-Chief Disegno)Start-up speakers:- Peter Marigold talks about his experience with crowdfunding via Kickstarter for his design- Rose Etherington of online sales platform Clippings speaks about informing customers on innovative design coming directly from its creators and empowering design brands to grow.- Edwin Heathcote, architecture and design critic of the Financial Times - supposed to talk about new economic models and manifestoes - was prevented in order to write on the sudden death of architect Zaha Hadid.Participants: Jane Withers & Elizabeth Glickfeld (curator, writers), Sheridan Coakley (SCP), Oliver Stratford (Disegno), Matylda Krzykowski (Depot Basel), Robin Phillips (Hitch Mylius), Piers Roberts (Designersblock), Chris van Houdt (Prooff) and designers: Simon Hasan, Felix de Pass, James Shaw, Katharina Bellinger, Ineke Hans, Adam Blencowe, Paula Arntzen, Nina Tolstrup, Tom Lloyd (PearsonLloyd), Thor ter Kulve (photo's)
Ineke Hans: Economics are a real topic in design. It's a funny business. We all know that there is a lot of free work is going on. However I don't want to speak on that tonight but focus on new models that came up and are coming up that have an economic touch and can impact the world of design. Johanna will be our moderator for this evening in Disegno's new office.
Johanna Agerman Ross: Thanks all for being here. Very sadly Edwin Heathcote can not join us tonight because of Zaha Hadid's death today. Therefore we will change the set up of the evening a bit.When Ineke suggested to do an evening on Furniture & Economics I immediately said I'd like to chair that one. I'd like to take you through some of my reasons why and go back to the Milan fair of 2011 when we had a thing like 'Milan Uncut'. People such as Marcus Fairs of Dezeen, Kieran Long, Justin McGuirk rallied to have a more active conversation about how the furniture industry works; designers working for free, getting 3% royalties for their work and not being paid for their research. I had joined the design field in 2005 and since then that kind of open conversation not existed and that was very refreshing to me. Working at ICON at the time I was hoping for something to come out, but I was quite disappointed because the people that really needed to talk about it actually did not speak and that were the designers themselves. They are considered by the companies to design their new collections, but if too outspoken or too difficult they might not be working with him or her again. There is a very sensitive system build on mutual agreements. The designers were unwilling to say anything and specifically the Italian producers were reluctant to talk about this even being a fact. This was intriguing for me and disappointing.Looking back at it now it opened the field for a few different things from my point of view.First of all it opened up the discussion about the process of getting there. I don't mean the process of crafts, research and making of a product, but the hardcore industry behind it.Many people who wrote about design were not aware of the royalty system but the discussion highlighted also where it came from: the situation after the second World War where designers and industry decided to work together and both invested time to make a product that would be mass produced. It highlighted that that system is now ingrained in the furniture world but maybe not challenged so much or when challenged too much it is a very sensitive system that can collapse.It also highlighted that in 2011 Kickstarter became a kind of 'thing'. Time magazine called it 'the best invention of the year' and we started to have other forms that were different than the furniture fairs. For designers it gave the opportunity to present their work in other areas. And then in terms of looking at the industry it also opened up for new manifestoes and potential ideologies. In 2014 Zoe Ryan curated a design biennial in Istanbul looking at Manifestoes, last year Louise Schouwenberg and Hella Jongerius presented their manifesto 'Beyond the New', which was contested by many but never the less it was presented at the eve of the Milan furniture fair.So following the original disappointment of 2011 I felt some interesting debates came out of it indirectly and that is where I want to delve into it today.First of all I like to introduce Peter Marigold who has been designing for ten years now and recently did a project with Kickstarter which gave a new departure for him.
Peter Marigold: Well... I don't know if anybody knows my project Formcard which is made by a low temperature bioplastic that melts in hot water, so you can do that in your kitchen. It sticks onto plastics, wood etcetera and you can fix things with it. It launched in December on Kickstarter and has been a huge success. I don't think of this process as a transition in my work, it fits in the firm believe I always had that you can take control of things in your life.I always looked at plastics as something that comes to your home made by moulds. You use it and after that you chuck it away. When doing workshops with thermoformed plastics I realised their huge potential for peoples lives, but there is a problem for people using it every day since they come in granule forms and need to be processed to turn into usable forms. I turned them into credit cards in different colours. And what to do then? Take it to a company that will give you a tiny amount of money for it? It is an unpatented and unpatentable idea but it had something 'internetty' and I knew for that reason it would be successfull on Kickstarter. So I made a video in a day and it got funded in the first 24 hours.
Johanna Agerman Ross: How much did you ask?
Peter Marigold: We asked for £ 3500,00. A lot of people have the wrong idea about Kickstarter: you should ask for a small amount of money, hit your funding and start trending. That has the knock on effect that you appear higher up in the ranking. Anyway I could get it into production, but it grew and grew and grew and by mid January it concluded with 860% funded and we tried to continue growing to £ 40.000,00.I used to be an artist working with galleries. When starting as a designer and interested in objects I really felt uncomfortable with this lineage of having to speak with manufactures that are ripping you off when realising your work. With the Kickstarter project suddenly I was in direct communication with the people that are interested in your product and you have absolute control over its representation and communication and I can highly recommend it to anyone. The only risk you are taking is making a video.
Johanna Agerman Ross: You say it is an internet friendly product. Do you think it would work for other products?
Peter Marigold: Well since we are talking furniture here, I don't know how successfull crowdfunding for furniture would be. I think particular projects that are very snappy, bright, candy-shop-like tend to be the things that are successfull. Objects where you can see instantly how people think: "Aah that's attractive, I go for it!" Sadly a table is perhaps not very communicable in a fifty second video because certain qualities don't come across in that others might become a guide to when you are designing.
Matylda Krzykowski: The transition you just pointed out is from being an artist-designer to working on the Kickstarter campaign. What I like to know is: what changed? How does your day look now? Do you have a full time job to give gifts away, to realise what you gained the money for etc... how did it effect you as a designer?
Peter Marigold: Oh, it is very time consuming, but things also opened up that were completely alien to me like working on production, distribution, etc. But I really wanted to do this and if you want to be on one of those Kickstarter campaigns you should also be prepared to have your time being consumed by this business afterwards.
Matylda Krzykowski: You would not call the time that you spend before on design a business?
Peter Marigold: Well, to combine this business now with the designing that I did before is a very weird scale and working on a big art commission that I do now for Jane is a very big switch. But I do not see it as unrelated
Jane Withers: I assume it is a fundamental switch where before 80% of your time was working as a designer and now 80% of it must be working as an entrepreneur?
Peter Marigold: Yes, but although it is all new to me I welcome it.
Ineke Hans: You say you have more contact with your clients, who support crowdfunding? For instance I don't see myself going on Kickstarter all the time, but who do? Who are your clients?Peter Marigold: There are people who never supported before and there are weird snowball effects that happen with media and social media where people are suggested to support you. You 'meet all kinds of meat' like friends on facebook, housewives or people that say: "Oooh I love that for my canalboat". We have now 4000 people involved that are speaking to each other about it.
Johanna Agerman Ross: Lets move over to you now Rose, because you edit to another side that is related to design and economy which is clippings.com. Can you say what your day to day work entails and how clippings work?
Rose Etherington: Sure. So clippings.com is essentially an online place where you can buy furniture and homeware. It brings together all kinds of brands into one destination that were previously selling independently or through retail or via agents. In terms of business model we are a marketplace. I don't like that word very much since it sounds to me like a jumble sale, but we are a marketplace like Ebay is, and Amazon, like Uber is a marketplace for taxis and Airbnb is for staying in peoples homes.Like many marketplaces we have buyers and sellers. Our buyers can be anyone who wants to buy something for their home or office, and we have a trade platform that is for designers, interior designers, specifiers, architects, hoteliers... who are buying for larger projects.Our sellers are designers and design brands on any scale. We work with Italian and Danish companies like Moroso and Hay, but on the other end we also work with Royal College graduates that create businesses from their own studios. Clippings.com is not retail though. Our role is to connect. We don't hold stock and people buy directly from the brand or the designer.From a consumer point of view we offer an easy way to find interesting products that are available to buy. There are more e-platforms but from the trade perspective we offer convenience. You see instant pricing and the trade discount you will get is based on the amount that you are buying. This is instant. For brands and designers it is an opportunity for sales and also to move into new markets in the UK or Europe.There is no commission upfront but when you sell Clippings takes 30% of that price which is a lot cheaper than when working with retail, agents and distributors. Traditional retail struggles with making things available to customers and with taking on more challenging products because of big overheads and investments. We just try to make that process simpler and more efficient and as a designer you can have your products on the market without going through that traditional route.
Johanna Agerman Ross: And what is your role in this as editor-in-chief where does the editorial side come in?
Rose Etherington: The first point is looking at the brands and designers that we bring on board. Some apply to us and others we select. So l am going to the fairs as I would be doing as a journalist anyway. The next phase is getting the content of those brands and designers onto the website to make it appealing for people to buy. People need to get a clear idea of what they get and this is different than sending a picture to the press for exposure.The next plane is going into a deeper level of storytelling. If you want to sell products online - furniture in particular - you really have to tell the story about the piece: where does it come from, how and why is it made and who is making it? Often the stories and the people behind it are extremely interesting are a key to make the online connections with customers. We see that it is not really true that people don't want to buy big pieces online. You just have to make it possible to understand a piece and get as close as possible to a situation where you can pick things up and walk around it. This kind of story telling you can also do, show and tell with videos.What we actually also try to do is change the way the design industry works towards business models that work for how people get to products and for how designers can make money. So the editorial work then is to focus on those issues: the sticking points, the challenges we face and what are the ideas for how to fix it.
Johanna Agerman Ross: In terms of the difference that it makes: would you say the impact is bigger for a more independent designer to retail their goods to a new audience or is it still the bigger brands that have bigger sales?
Rose Etherington: I think that whatever stage your business is at there is room for scaling up. When we are talking about the big brands we are actually talking about fairly small companies. The important thing for independent designers is that it can lower the entry to get your products into the world. Now you can do that yourself if you want to take on the entrepreneurial role. This will make a big shift and it became possible fairly recent. If you get a commission to make a big batch of one chair for a particular hotel that makes a big difference to a business in the early stages of starting up. We are looking now at businesses that would otherwise not have made those leaps and also a bigger diversity of businesses that move forward from a more experimental background. They dare to take risks because they don't have to take the risks of working with shops. I hope this will lead to more variety in products and different - more individual - interiors, but this is drifting away from the economic aspect...
Johanna Agerman Ross: Yes but very interesting! Ineke do you want to take on the economics aspect now as Edwin is not here?
Ineke Hans: I certainly have some questions for Rose too but can keep them for later, so OK. Well I am certainly not an economic expert but I am intrigued by things and I was reading things when I was preparing my salons.At one point I read that Mendini said that manifestoes were done and ideas and ideals in design were gone. I thought that was funny, because I saw manifestoes popping up every now and than and for me they manifest ideas and ideals to change things. In the past Dieter Rams wrote ten principles for good design as golden rules, since the Bauhaus there have been loads of manifestoes and Edwin Heathcote has a website, where you can find many of them.
Johanna Agerman Ross: That is 'reading design'?Ineke Hans: Yes. So manifestoes keep popping up and I thought: maybe they did not work and nothing has really changed! Why is that? It is easy to shout that things should be this way or that way, but activating change is the next step and how do we realize that? Perhaps there should be a plan for that too?Then I noticed as well that lately some interesting thoughts about economics arose. When I was young I read texts like 'Das Kapital' from Karl Marx and was really into these socialists thoughts. Recently Thomas Piketty wrote 'Capital' about economy in the twenty-first century and inequality in our society where people are get richer or less rich and how this inequality is seriously affecting our society.I also came across some videos by a female economist in Oxford called Kate Raworth. She talks about a 'doughnut economy' that is based on a lot of volunteer work in our society. This varies from mothers bringing their children to school and women who daily carry 20 liters of water home on their head in Africa. It is all work that keeps our economy going but is not capitalised and if you would take it away the system would collapse. She looks at this as an interesting issue for our future economy that should be more focused on human prosperity and sustainability than on financial growth because it makes our economies flow.Through that I thought of the design business where lots of free work is done not only by designers, but also by writers and retailers that talk blisters on their tongues where for instance in the end people buy their product online with clippings.com. It also made me think about a talk that I once attended in Holland when someone who worked in the creative industry asked for some talks when she resigned. It was a talk of a banker who had researched the creative industry because he was intrigued that people could be successfull without ever having a loan from a bank as you would do. Maybe he did this with in the back of his mind: lets see how they do it, so I can turn down more loans at the bank..Anyway, as said I am not an expert on economics, but most people in the design world that I know are in it because of their personal drive and I do think that that is a very powerful motivation. Thinking further on this I thought: perhaps we are a step ahead? We are in a business where we don't capitalize so much work, but the system runs! Even if we moan it does work!Then there is one more book from John Thackara: 'How to thrive in the next economy'. He has been writing about design and sustainability a lot, but he also looks at economics from another perspective and describes how sustainability and a more social approach - instead of an economy obsessed with stuff, money, and endless growth - can be embedded in the next economy.For me all these ideas fit very much with the vibes that I get from design manifestoes that describe ideals and what design should be about. They often express more about people's wellbeing than about economic growth. I got fascinated by it and I wondered if we could link these new thoughts about economy to plans to make design manifestoes work and secondly if the design world somehow already has an advantage because of the way it is driven.
Matylda Krzykowski: We were talking about economy and furniture. The first two examples were about internet and how it influences independence for the designer and I talked earlier to you Robin. You have a furniture company, so I would also be interested that you explain your perspective.
Robin Philips: We make upholstered furniture for the contract industry. Years ago we used to do very well with retailers like Heals, Conran, Purves & Purves and I worked at Conran at that time. When I joined Hitch | Mylius it was mainly contract oriented.
Matylda Krzykowski: Can you explain about how the draft of the contract with the designer looks like, what is he gaining, how long does the relationship last?
Robin Philips: We have a royalty percentage that is fixed and usually much higher than mentioned here before. A lot of our products are ten, fifteen years old and we have been working with some designers for a while. Recently, since 2012, we got into the idea that there is the costs of the royalties, but also the costs of the design, so we have opened up to that. If someone has an idea, the idea is often still very fragile but if we like to put time in it and the designer has to put time in it there is a value to the idea and that is something that we have to pay.
Johanna Agerman Ross: To bring in more of the manufacturers side... Chris you are from PROOFF, which is on itself an interesting model for a design business. You have ten designs but you don't bring in necessarily a new project every year this might be interesting to relate to the Manifesto of Louise Schouwenberg and Hella Jongerius who also acted against 'the new', where new products don't get a chance and are replaced by something else the next year.
Chris van Houdt: First about PROOFF in a nutshell. We are not producers but publishers for innovative spaces. We are driven by ideas not volumes in the first place and work with designers that fit our DNA. We are challenged by what is next not by new for the sake of new. Apart from PROOFF we - here around the table - probably also have to push boundaries as the first generation which is not going to face big financial growth anymore. We have to look at ecosystems and that is challenging for us and for the design world as well as the fourth revolution of technology and its impact on how we work and with whom. Those are questions that we have to face. We see that there are giants in the world that create a bigger gap between the wealthiest and the lower class and what about co-working and co-living; will that change the furniture industry as well? I am also here to ask questions.
Johanna Agerman Ross: Tom can I turn to you too? Having worked in this industry for a significant number of years with PearsonLloyd and seeing changes, what is your reaction to Chris and new retail outlets?
Tom Lloyd: It is schizophrenic but in a positive way. We like to worry and wave the flag about 'the new', but we also talk about change and that is by definition new. We as designers, manufacturers and suppliers are in a very fortunate position to articulate that change. Sometimes there is a tyranny of novelty in Milan. But we are also part of it and we set the trends although we like to raise ourselves beyond trends as persons that challenge something in a cultural, commercial or personal way. The fact that things change does not mean we are always buying another thing, we cannot afford it. So the sofa we buy today is a different one than I could buy ten years ago.
Rose Etherington: Being inside the industry we are always seeing the new, but if someone is buying something they are actually looking for something that is relevant and not something that is new. In that sense it does not matter when it was designed.
Ineke Hans: Rose you worked in the past with dezeen and you once told me that you liked to give exposure to design but realised that is not the same as sales. In a way when you are editor with Clippings and telling stories you are taking over the role of the shopkeeper that looses sales to the online market and I can imagine that this can be frustrating for for instance Sheridan.
Sheridan Coakley: No, they are just a marketplace and we have a website too. We invest in it because you get a much bigger audience. Most big furniture stores in London don't make money. Heals, Conran... it is complicated to justify the pounds you pay per square foot. The internet is just another tool for us to show what we do. And it is 'horses for courses'. Upholstery for instance is quite difficult to sell without seeing it and you cannot return it. All sofa's are made to order. For a retailer you have to make combinations with all the mediums that you can use to sell your products, magazines sell products for us too. Kickstarter sounds interesting but it seems to work for novelties and I cannot see that work for furniture.
Peter Marigold: I don't know perhaps some furniture can be designed to work well online
Ineke Hans: In an earlier talk was mentioned that people buy even mattresses online and return it too.
Sheridan Coakley: That is because of the power of the brand.
Ineke Hans: The nature of ordering online means that items have to be send more flat pack too.
Sheridan Coakley: Yes and there are more people out there that can fulfil that service for you, but as a rule you can not sell furniture without seeing it and touching it, unless it is very cheap. A website is also a tool. So if you see a sofa in my shop you go home to match it with where you live and buy it online.
Jane Withers: What is the percentage you do sell online?
Sheridan Coakley: On none-furniture - since we don't do a lot of furniture online - and since last year where it was 15% it is now 35% so it is a substantial growth.
Johanna Agerman Ross: Tom, the trends you talked about earlier and that we are part of fascinated me. However because of internet and Kickstarter we also seem to see much more smaller items, often too frivolous and just appealing for me to take serious as a critic and since we planned to bring Edwin in as a critic for the Financial Times I wondered how he looked at this being a contradiction towards these manifestoes and more critical thinking and what this means for his position as a critic. So I would like to turn to Oliver for this.
Peter Marigold: When looking at Kickstarter as a stream of trashy products I just like mention a detail that I noticed. After Kickstarter I also set up e-commerce with paypal etcetera and people were looking at Formcard much more like a trashy product then. We got much more complaints. Where with Kickstarter people were much more involved and because they participated in it the product was much more meaningful for them too.
Oliver Stratford: I don't think the critics role is hugely reduced, primarily because there is not a great deal of design criticism. There are some exceptions like Dirty Furniture Magazine for instance. Sheridan was saying you don't buy sofa's without sitting in it but it's common to write about sofa's without sitting in it, we don't really interact a lot with objects. However through the internet so many things are going out and that is different than before in magazines.A criticism is normally a review and could work as a filter, but how many objects are reviewed? Kind of none! This creates an atmosphere where objects and furniture are not particular taken seriously. From that perspective I think it is not surprising that manifestoes are often a little underwhelming because they are idealistic about how design should be and it never is like that. 'Beyond the new' for instance was interesting and took issue with some areas of consumerism, but it's not going to have that much effect though because it's not engaging with the consumer. It gets passed around the echo chamber in design, without finding a natural outlet in a wider context. Because there is not a lot of design criticism how can you expect people to think about why they need another chair?
Johanna Agerman Ross: Matylda, as a curator and founder of Depot Basel you engage with new comments and new context. How do you see this?
Matylda Krzykowski: We exist 5 years and recently we did an exhibition called 'Forum for an Attitude' in a small garage at the Vitra Design Museum where we asked recent graduates to comment. We chose not to show any physical objects so everything was printed scale 1:1 in print. It showed the current table by Marjan van Aubel but also a project that questioned the transparency of issues in the design world where we are often able to talk about problems but not able to solve them. I also like to add an example of a designer that managed to get a project that he made successful himself in production with a company. He than had the choice: a fee of £ 500,00 or 5% royalties? He thought: the company will take care of sales, so let's choose the royalties. After 2,5 years he had received £ 450,00. The object sold less because it had an other emotional value than when it was handmade.
Tom Lloyd: That is a choice. We all choose to speculate and it is quite democratic. It allows young designers to get a platform and it allows designers to experiment on what you could not do yourself if you find the right partner.
Johanna Agerman Ross: But what is left out of that debate is that the manufacturer does not always invest in the product to get it on the shop floor and with the 'Milan Uncut' debate you see that if this happens every year it becomes increasingly difficult for both established and young designers to make a living simply from royalties. The manufacturer does not get involved saying: "I am so interested in working with you, lets develop this together", but he thinks: "I am so interested in you because for Milan I can get a lot of media coverage and countless pages on blogs, newspapers and magazines and it will heighten the profile of my brand".
Sheridan Coakley: So then the designer should ask for a fee, but a designer should also understand when a design will in reality be successful for a manufacturer.
Ineke Hans: You are right, but it does often depend on how much effort a manufacturer is really putting into a product, if they show a project more than once. If they have more new projects it often happens that they are carried away by a project that had some good comments or gets reactions because of a bigger designer name that is related and they fail to deal with the other designs. It is a waste of energy and money.
Sheridan Coakley: It sounds like you are moaning. Before the royalty system existed most manufacturers employed designers. There is a huge freedom if you are an independent designer and if you are successful. If you are not successful that has nothing to do with how much you earn, you may just not be a very good designer. There are just very few designers that make a good living and I don't think it has to do with the royalty.
Ineke Hans: Still if I look at the current system it does not work for young designers because they cannot afford to wait so long before one or two products finally take off and give them a living. Of course you can say: find a way and we all had to find a way in it.
Sheridan Coakley: Many people that studied furniture don't end up as a furniture designer. They use that skill to be in interiors or product design that is more profitable. There is not so much furniture made
Ineke Hans: That means: 'Wake up and smell the coffee' for many people and they only find out after five years.
Nina Tolstrup: There is not a lot of openness between designers about this. Maybe more shared knowledge about how the system works would help. Going back to design criticism: I was part of a group of London based designers called TEN and showed at 100% design etcetera. Our idea was to share knowledge, but we could only talk about sustainability and every time we were going to talk about the designs that got really uncomfortable because it was a criticism between peers. Designers are not very good at growing each other.
Johanna Agerman Ross: Back to the manifesto 'Beyond the New'. Last year in Milan I spoke to ten, fifteen people that had an opinion about it saying things like: "ooh isn't it obvious, isn't it this or that". Then when I asked Hella how she found the reactions to the manifesto she said: "Literally no one has said anything to me about it!" She wanted a debate, but no one wanted to debate it with her.Perhaps an openness could be considered as a treatment for the situation in design and is it where these talks of Ineke can fulfil a role?
Jane Withers: There is not a professional body for design as there is in architecture and advertising and where there are guidelines for what are people paid.
Peter Marigold: The problem starts also at the colleges where tutors don't want to admit to the students that they are not paid. That they are have to work in a bubble.
Ineke Hans: A lot of students are also not interested in the business side when they study. I know of a school in Holland where they took of three weeks of the curriculum and asked students to come back for that six months after they graduated. Then they were taught about economic issues like how to do your accounts etc. and it would sink in then because it was a reality for them at that time.
Peter Marigold: Graphic designers have an accepted fee of € 300,00 a day. In product design people will undercut each other and work for free. Graphic designers don't do that.
Tom Lloyd: And that is why you get a royalty. They can not do a week work and earn money with it for for fifteen years.We are also in a pact with the devil here: 'we want our cake and eat it'.I think you need a mix of work that is royalty based and work where you get a fee. When you are talking about designs that don't sell but getting a loads of press, that is probably what you need if you are a young designer and build on more extreme points of view and speculative positions.
Piers Roberts: You need to build a reputation.
Matylda Krzykowski: But there are not enough jobs for these kids and can you call yourself a professional designer if you have no money and have one or two side jobs for ten years?
Piers Roberts: I think the world is a hell of a lot better than 20 years ago where there were two or three contemporary design stores in London. Now contemporary design is everywhere. The reason why designers started to work differently was because manufacturing had left Europe, there was nobody investing in designers and they came out of colleges in larger numbers. The only way to do things was to set it out themselves with no pre-existing examples to follow. The kids that are coming out now have a twenty year record of people who followed that track, had a go or failed. Universities are actually not providing this knowledge, but there is a far more interested world now than what is used to be.Most people that I know are successful because they had to reach out to markets themselves instead of relying on others to do so. Of course these days if you do that you cut out the margin of retail and so on that makes things far too expensive. As a designer you then have to take on an other set of responsibilities like actually also talking to the people that tell you what they want. Perhaps that is a good thing because they tell you what they want and what they think. You don't get that access when you are distanced in your ivory tower and think that you are so special that you don't have to talk to people. You have to be bit more subtle and more aware of what is out there. I don't care if you are interested in that, but I do know that there is a world that is much more interested and suitable for us to work in than 20 years ago.
Paula Arntzen: I graduated recently and I really feel that there is a tendency now to share more via Facebook and social media. I just hope that in the future there will become a bigger group of different generations that shares knowledge.
Adam Blencowe: I think we as a younger generation feel that as a group you can have a much better voice than as an individual.
Johanna Agerman Ross: If we don't want to end in a moan that might be a nice end. Let's have drinks...20170310