This industry friday we had Concetta Gallo who is a well reknowned designer of homewares, textiles and kitsch inspired decor. I was particularly interested in this talk because i love kitsch inspired work myself and its great to see how it transfers into everyday consumer products that are popular. She has a BA in 3-D ceramics design from Bath Spa University and an MA in Printed textiles from the Royal College of Art.
Her first collection for habitat was a particularly huge success, the Concetta tableware range:
I really like this range myself, its quirky and contemporary, and its whimsical qualities are a far cry from what i’ve seen in most tableware ranges! I’d like to see what my own illustrations look like on ceramics after seeing her work and its something i may consider 🙂
Concetta used to work at UOB whilst freelancing for Habitat, she did this for a few years but then went onto freelance for Debenhams, and was a homewear designer for TOPSHOP although this collection unfortunately did not all get made due to clothing sales dipping there. Her work features alot of Dolly faces and she said she likes to include them in alot of her designs, she likes her work to be kitsch and fun 🙂 and likes the idea of “Taking her Design to the masses”.
She then went onto create several collections for George Home and totally transformed their homeware collection, because before it was quiet nondescript and now she has left there, there are 3 times the designers there was when she started and they have some really trendy and cool collections now. Her job now is designing for Marks and Spencers, which she really enjoys because she gets to create design with excellent quality, which she states is far better quality than any other company she has worked for.
Part of her job includes putting together trends, and showing these to buyers and merchandisers in the companies and convince them to create the products, its very commercial because essentially what is made is chosen based on how well they think it will sell. To create trends you have to cross disciplines to cover whole ranges from tablewear to bedding, curtains and decorative items. She starts trends by doing lots of research, designers know what trends will be much better than a corporate buyer because they can create them from existing art, things they see and the inspiration can start anywhere. She creates a pack based on trends, but trends should all be very different within a range because you dont want people to buy half of one collection and half of another. This would be called splitting sales.
If you see one company doing well with a trend, its a good idea to jump on the band wagon because in this industry its more about the money fundamentally. Concetta also collaborates with other designers and illustrators in order to produce her collections, because some collections can have over 100 products that need designing and its impossible to do alone. You also have to think about your target market, who is going to buy these products?
How she approached employers:
This was a tough process, she want to see many people but most said no due to lack of experience. In order to get new jobs in this area of design , you are asked to do products which is basically working for free and employers are less interested in portfolio as opposed to what you can create in their deadline. Though in her job now she gets to travel all over the work regularly to speak with suppliers and designers and she does alot of her design work whilst visiting suppliers to see what can be made.
Her advice when looking for work is be confident and try everyone. Its not a quick process but she has done very well so far!
below are some of her various collections and products that i really liked, and i am now actually really interested in design for homewares! I would quite like to create work for paper chases’s homeware collections!