There aren’t many of us that can pull off ‘granny chic’, especially when teamed with a cat obsession, but Vicki Murdoch has truly nailed it. Not only is this former model super stylish she has turned her creative energies into Silken Favours, her brand of beautiful silk creations including much coveted scarves and quirky cushions. Her whimsical designs feature names such as ‘Precious Pussies’ and ‘Butterflies & Beasticles’ and her imagination is second only to her talent as an artist, she hand draws each detailed design in pen & ink. We talked to Vicki about her weird & wonderful designs, why she chose silk & how it all began…
What led to the initial inception of Silken Favours?
I suppose it started with the love of giving gifts that evoked full-on emotions. I wanted tears! I began by making bespoke scarves for friends and family. I loved the idea of opening a beautiful box to discover a silk scarf with everything you loved on it, it could be cats and roses, the colour blue, or guns, or chickens and tigers. The first range I designed started with a bespoke scarf for my parents. I drew all the birds that visited their garden. It made them cry and I thought “Oooh, this works", and so the Heart Collection came about.
Why did you choose silk as the canvas for your art?
Silk scarves are perfect squares, and a beautiful way to present illustrations. The cushions and shirts have stemmed from that and it’s such a luxurious fabric. When you sit on a silk cushion it feels good and when you hug someone in a silk shirt you want to hug for longer.
What was the hardest obstacle you faced when starting your own business?
Myself, I suppose. Well I’ve learned lots on the job and made plenty of very silly mistakes as the business developed. I have learned from those but I’m sure there is still room for many more.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I no longer live/work. I needed to separate my business from the rest of my life as I found it hard to switch off. If I hadn’t, most of my friends would have dumped me by now, as well as my boyfriend. So thankfully I’m now up and out of my house by 9am and a 5min cycle to my studio. It’s a gorgeous big space with plenty of light and wonderful people. Each day differs, I have lots of admin, accounts, deliveries, production and it all eats into my designing time. I’m very lucky to have had lovely interns that are so amazing. Without them I would have definitely had a couple of small breakdowns by now.
What are your top tips for upcoming new designers?
Well, first you need to have the passion for what you’re doing. Another good thing would be to listen when you go to the lectures about starting up your own business, I may have forgotten to do this. There is a lot of help out there, for example DISC and small business centres. It’s good to go and ask for help from others. People are normally very happy to help.
What are your top trend predictions for home fashion this year and which trends will you be avoiding?
I’m hoping animal motifs. They are popping up everywhere and, luckily for me, that’s my favourite subject, so I’ll probably stick to that. I really like mixing pattern with pattern, sometimes till it makes you feel dizzy. I will be avoiding anything without pattern, but that’s just me.
How would you describe your home style and what’s your favourite room & why?
I like to think it’s a little granny chic. My poor boyfriend has been kind enough to put up with all my animal cushions. I have about 14 and our flat is very small. Plus lots of kitsch cat bits everywhere. My favourite room would be our living room. We have a wee sofa, many many cushions and a small retro record player. It’s a nice place to hang out with a bottle of wine, some friends and all the silky animals looking on.
If you could transform any interior space in the world with your creations where would it be and why?
The glasshouse at Kew Gardens would be incredible to transform. I could have all my cushions and prints in among the plants and birds. Wow, that would be the ultimate dream. They would all probably get a bit wet though.
You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future, what year do you go to and why?
I would make straight for 1969, so I could go to Woodstock and rock it out with all the hippies whilst listening to my favourite music.
What’s next for Silken Favours – have you thought about applying your designs to more home accessories?
Ooh, I’ve got lots and lots of ideas but I need to make sure I don’t let it get out of control, cats on everything is the ultimate dream.
We aren’t sure if cats on everything will ever take off, but Silken Favours fabulous designs are sure to be seen around the interiors of the style conscious for a long time to come.