Sophie Blake, a designer now based in the D.C. area, has achieved the “Designer’s Dream.” Featured in publications like Elle, Vogue and OK Magazine, she was picked up by Henri Bendel in 2011 and is on her way to becoming an internationally recognizable brand. Her first line was inspired by Art Deco style and the Cubism movement and she often draws inspiration from ancient geometric forms such as pyramids.
Sophie’s been designing since childhood, and her early art consists mostly of paintings and drawings. After moving to NYC in 2005, Sophie rekindled her artistic spirit and began to pursue a career in jewelry design. “Over the last 5 years I’ve taught myself different techniques and took courses in both metal-smithing and gemology.”
Her style is at once sophisticated, structural and versatile, drawing inspiration from the Deco period and vintage materials like Bakelite, a plastic from the 1930’s. “I design for both women and men, who enjoy quality over trend, have strong sense of fashion and history. Both enjoy luxury, balance of design and unique pieces that are modern with a touch of the ancient world.”
Between her move from NYC to the Washington, DC area, we caught up with Sophie for the official “Blake Beat.”
Wicked Peacock: Do you have a design routine or does it happen more organically?
Sophie Blake: It happens more organically. I don’t try to force it, but rather let my imagination run whether it’s by looking at a piece of chain and series of stones or I see a painting or building that I like and it instantly becomes my inspiration. Allot of my inspirations lately have been right here in New York City.
WP: Describe a day inside your studio.
SB: Every day for me can be different, however generally my day starts early in the morning when I check my emails. Then I make a checklist of what needs to be done for the day, whether it’s to pick up some additional materials from the store or run over to the casters and the platers to drop off pieces in making. By the afternoon I have settled back in and can have some quiet time to design and make new pieces. Sometimes I go to the showroom bring in new pieces or set up appointments with the boutiques to check on the inventory and see what pieces are selling well and which ones I would need to cut back in producing.
WP: How do you decide which materials to use?
SB: It depends on the design of the piece. For the latest collection, Bakelite was a very prominent material I used repeatedly. I also like to use semi-precious stones that are unusual in color or formation. I do gravitate towards materials that are vintage or limited edition in nature as I like to preserve a piece of history in my designs whether it is the style or the actual material used.
WP: Tell us about your latest collection.
SB: The latest collection was inspired by a series of Georges Braque’s paintings including La Tasse and the famous Violin and Candlestick. I wanted to keep the collection modern looking but introduce some vintage elements to it. So I used Bakelite as a focal point. Interestingly enough Bakelite was an early plastic introduced around the same time 1907, when Braque was working with Picasso in establishing the Cubist movement just a year later in 1908. The colors are very natural, the tones earthy using allot of browns, blacks with a hint of olivine crystals. The same palette of colors used in Braque’s work.
WP: What’s the most exciting thing to happen to you lately?
SB: Well, I’ve been blessed in the last year as my family and friends have supported my dream to design and also become successful in the fashion industry. I do feel like it’s not one determining but rather a series of events including my debut with Henry Bendels my first press feature with Okay Magazine, 5 page spread with a French online magazine Fashizblack just this Jan/Feb. I just hope that I keep moving forward and getting more features and meet expand my network of the fashion community.