Suki Cheema Studio Visit
Textile guru Suki Cheema’s love affair with fabric seems inevitable, having spent his childhood years playing amongst rolls of cloth in his parents clothing factory. After several years designing for fashion stalwarts such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Diane von Furstenberg, Cheema launched his eponymous home and accessories collection in 2010.
In a recent visit to the Suki Cheema workspace, Cheema talks about how his love of travel and foreign climes inspires his collections, his design identity and his favourite art supply store in Williamsburg, NY.
At what point did you realise you wanted to be a fashion/textile designer?
I had a keen interest in textiles as a young child. My parents had a clothing factory and I grew up playing under the cutting tables with beautiful prints and wonderful fabrics. I also loved to paint and draw as a child. It was around the age of 18 that I realised I wanted to marry these two loves and specialise in textiles and fashion.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
From my travels and every day life.
Define your design identity.
Bold geometric and modern ethnic.
Design by hand or by computer?
Both. I like to draw or paint by hand and then scan my designs into the computer where I can manipulate them or put them into repeats.
Your favourite drawing/design tool?
What do you love most about your studio/workspace?
It’s clean, light and airy with big windows and high ceilings.
Describe your typical work day/week?
Morning starts with my cup of green tea and catching up on the news. I always tackle emails to factories before I start my design day. I end the day with a long run or yoga. If I am in India I spend the day working in the factory with the artists or visiting bazaars to find local inspiration. But my brain is working 24-7 on design ideas, so it’s a long day from morning to night!
Lunch in the studio is?
A homemade sandwich or salad and another cup of green tea.
Lunch out is?
Only if I have a meeting. Or on rare occasions a much needed break to 202 or Bill Granger with Rayna, my business partner.
Cut flowers or pot plants?
Pot plants for me – I just planted my new blueberry bushes.
Favourite time of day? Night owl or early riser?
Both – it all depends on where I am in the world.
Pure Olive Oil bar soap by Kiss My Face. I’m not really a T.V. soap follower but if I’m chilling out I do like Holby City.
Travel around Asia.
Current music/ book/ magazine/ film?
I am listening to Making Mirrors by Gotye.
Reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Elle Décor.
Upcoming collection/ projects of interest? Describe?
Working on my next collection, which is inspired by Africa. I am heading to India next week to approve all the prints. The collection will be shown at the New York International Gift Fair’s ‘Accent On Design’ show in August.
I am also really looking forward to my talks at the V&A’s ‘CreateVoice’ programme, and to the final year students at Central Saint Martins in the next couple of weeks.