Interview with Danielle Scott-Haughton

Hey Danielle glad to have you here. The first question I would have for you is when and how did designing become your passion and exert of artistic expression? (History behind the music/artifice.)
 
Hi! Well, when I was 16 Kesh was the thing. She was amazing to me. How’s a girl from London gonna rule the world like that. That’s how I saw it. My friends and I all got sewing machines on and around  our 18th birthdays and we got down, but it was my best friend Yasmin and I who went hard with it. We gave up our jobs at this horrible market research company and had no money to buy clothes to go raving, so we made our own clothes. People started noticing like “Who are those girls? What the fuck are they wearing?” LOL! This was just in the wake of “Nu Rave” so everything we wore was ridiculously bright for no reason with loads of volume. I put pictures of my dresses up on my MySpace (feels like centuries ago) and people started getting in contact with me about designing for them and them getting my dresses and what not. I called my label CUT&SWALLOW after my mum told me I don’t chew my food, I cut and swallow and that’s how I got started.
 
How are you feeling this year, any big plans for 2010?
2010 is going to be a big year for my brand. I’m collaborating with Boxfresh on a totally fantastic opportunity. I don’t wanna talk to much about it, but it’s very exciting.
 

Could you talk a little more about your work and pieces?
I love to make women look beautiful and individual. Some people like to buy their party dresses in TopShop and my customers like to CUT&SWALLOW. I work with colour a lot and love to accentuate women’s curves. I watch Project Runway a lot and their always telling the contestants “Which woman wants to accentuate their hips?” And I’m like, fuck off! Bigger. Bolder. Unashamedly!
 

So what is the motivation behind your whole movement?
No money. I have no money. Everything I do is because for the longest time I’ve had no money but could do the biggest and the best with a 50p budget. I’m going to get to the point where I’m not making dresses on a £1, not having to borrow an overlocker from Ben or cussing out the people at the material shop cause they don’t take me seriously cause I have £100 to make a collection, but I’m not their. My motivation is to get to that point. I’m not there yet. But God willing. I will be soon.

 
Who are some people you would like to work with?
 I love working with musicians! I’ve worked with musicians and it’s challenging. Oh my gosh, you don’t understand. Musicians have a very calculated way of working and they know how they want to look. So you might have an idea, but you have to make them happy. It’s really an amazing way of working.  I want to work with more musicians, doing more collaborations.

 
What are your thoughts about the increasing integration of fashion and Hip Hop?
 Hmmm. When fashion combines with any music genre it can be a great thing. But are you making fashion? Or are you sticking your brand’s name on T-Shirt?
 

How is the Internet changing your craft?
It doesn’t change it. Not at all. It helps me get it out there. If it wasn’t for MySpace and Facebook, I would be a lot more underdeveloped with regards to networking, but my dresses stay the same.

 
Are you down with the whole twitter thing? How is this an important outlet for you and others?
Yes! I have a twitter @daniilorum. I just use it to say what I think, and that’s what my friends do. I currently have waged war against Boris Johnson @MayorofLondon. I can’t stand the man. Like, why isn’t my bus here? I didn’t vote for you. I voted for Ken, you bumbling twit. And I @reply him every chance I get. I can’t stand him. LOL. So, to answer your question, it is a very important outlet.

 
Who are some people you want to be interacting with this year?
The people I’ve been interacting with. I find when people know you have a solid foundation of friends and family they think, ok this is a real person and not some sponge constantly looking to have their tentacles in every pie. This year I’ll be where I’ve always been, with the people I’ve always been there with.

 

 

Could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?
Not really, but I’m still going to be making clothes, making people look great and feel great. It’s going to be fantastic.

Do you feel like what you are doing is important and in what way beneficial to you sector?
What I’m doing is not important. I am not saving lives. I think people take it too seriously, this fashion thing. I couldn’t even send one of my dresses to Chile or Haiti for the victims to wear. It’s not important. It’s fun. I get to go places and meet people others could only dream of and show them work that isn’t out there. There are many of us young female designers who help distinguish between this t-shirt fashion and the ones of use who design and cut patterns. Designers like Kelly-Jade Nicholls, Angel Baruch Knowles and I are beneficial to our sector and the wider community in general because we help change the representation of black women into something positive and producing as opposed to consuming and negative.

When you started out did you think it would be a serious business?
No way! Are you mad? I was 18 with a sewing machine and £1 fabric. CUT&SWALLOW was this worm who turned into a butterfly. It’s been great.

How do you separate yourself from others?
My use of colour and the fact that I wasn’t trained. My peers have done or are doing their degrees in design. I don’t know anything about any of that and sometimes to my detrement. I look at clothes differently. All clothes are shapes to me. A pair of trousers is nothing more than four rectangles, a strapless one piece swimsuit is two squares and that’s it. There is so much more to it than that, but I don’t know it. I just work with what I have and borrowed knowledge from friends and books.

Where is your Favorite place to create art?
I’m inspired by everything, but my favourite place to make clothes is in front of an episode of Friends on e4 on my floor.

The art and party scene have come together in recent years, why do you think this has happened?
How could it not? Where would I wear my clothes? In my house? I don’t think so. I have to go to a party to show everyone what I’ve made.

How do you describe your pieces to people?
I describe my clothes as fun and beautiful, very much a reflection of me. LOL.

What have you stolen/learned from another artist lately?
I learned from Sade that only say something if it needs to be said. Fans don’t need to be bombarded with your art or fashion to know you’re still there. So I take my time producing my art now. It’s more difficult to produce a collection of merit every season that people understand. I could make a collection every season, but they’d be SHIT. LOL. Production for consumption sake is not a good look.

Must art have a relationship to the rest of the world?
Yes. It would be too incestuous otherwise. That’s how it was centuries ago and that’s what created a polarization between the rich and educated and the poor and uneducated. But now if you have a £1 and a vision, you’re set mate. And best of all, you can share your vision with the world.

Describe who a fan of your work is:
Shaki, Suki and Zaza of The Real Heat and also Shingai from the Noisettes.

Describe your art as if we were blind?
It is the feel of a woman’s breasts. The smell of marijuana on a hot summer’s day. The taste of the sweetest ice lolly. The sound of Vybz Kartel, Mavado and Buju Banton at the hottest rave.