Working with brilliant artists, as Sahara has done throughout its history, is a gift. Print making is an integral part of the design process for us, and creative collaboration allows us to further learn, grow, and spread our wings. With a strong female presence in the company, it feels natural to join forces with women we admire. One such woman is Lydia Jordan-Doughty, a print designer, artist, and educator whose talents created the beautiful print for our Summer ‘21 Floribunda Collection. Her work is visual delight and feels like walking through lush gardens bursting with poetically blended, vivid hues. We spoke to Lydia on her work, inspiration, and vision for the future. 

Tell us how you became to be a textile print designer? Was it something you had always set out to do, or did it come along organically? 

I had always known I wanted to work in fashion, I still have books filled with illustrations from when I was a child, they make me smile and cringe and the same time! After an art foundation, I went to university to study Fashion Design at Ravensbourne. It was whilst there I realised how important the fabrics, colours and prints were to me and I gradually began to focus on Print as my main interest. I felt I wanted to deep dive into print and went on to do a Masters in Print at the Royal College of Art. Until that point I had focused on screen printing but whilst there began to experiment with digital print and combining the two. This technique of combining hand done and digitally has stayed with me to this day.

Are there specific tools and techniques that are signature to you?

One of the things that resonate with me is experimentation. I always look for new techniques and processes. Whether it's spending time working with a media I haven't used for a long time (currently watercolour) or trying out new processes/technology on the computer. I then like to combine hand-painted with digital manipulation to create something completely unique.

Our beautiful Floribunda print that you designed is rich in colour and detail, is this typical of your work? 

Absolutely! I would fill the world with print, pattern and colour if I could! I also have an obsession with flowers. I strive to create wearable art! 

How do you enter the first phase of a new print? Does it come out of nowhere depending on your mood and environment, or do you begin with specific research and development?

Nature is a huge source of inspiration for me, whether it's taking a walk and gathering the rainbow shades from leaves and wildflowers or observing how the sun hits the sky and trees. I am always stopping to take pictures - everything from flowers, garden gates, floor tiles and textures. However, I have even taken inspiration for geometric patterns from a car park before!

Have the events of 2020 changed your approach to your work, and have you had to adapt?

Yes, it has been an undeniably different year. I have used the time to move away from the computer and get into painting. There's nothing like an excuse to get some new art materials and spend more time being process-driven. It’s been a much slower pace, and I have learnt a lot.

Do you have favourite designers or artists who inspire you?

I love art so much and try and go to galleries often. So many artists inspire me, especially with the use of colour. Georgia O'Keefe, Monet, Klimt, Vasarelli, and Paul Klee are incredible, to name but a few!!

What’s next for you – what do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I want to keep pushing myself to try new techniques and have fun with my art. As well as being a designer, I also teach print to fashion students, which is incredibly rewarding and teaches me a lot in return.

Discover the Summer Collection here