Of the myriad milestones that pepper Cleo Prickett‘s artistic path, two lightbulb moments stand out. The first struck her eight-year-old self, whilst watching Donald Duck cartoons: “I suddenly had a strong urge to sketch these characters, so I start drawing, drawing… Two weeks later, I had a whole workbook filled [with illustrations] and found I had a natural knack for it.” Through a balanced blend of nurture and nature – her family is replete with talented makers – Prickett’s creative thirst was forever kindled.
Her connection to fashion soon followed, amidst schooldays eagerly commandeered by art, and she quickly fell for the process-driven traits of design; a love that still percolates her sartorial approach. Upping sticks to London for a degree in LCF, a series of defining experiences took shape. She scored a fantastic internship with Matthew Williamson while still in college, directly assisting their Print Designer on a profusion of projects – “I would spend all day hand-drawing designs in the studio, I couldn’t believe my luck!” – and was given the chance to create an original print for their pre-Spring collection. It was less a taste of the working world, more the whole damn meal.
Those top-tier responsibilities carried through to her post-college roles, from a paid internship at Roland Mouret to designing print for Mary Katrantzou (an FYI for those unfamiliar: Katrantzou’s print department is indispensable). Returning to Mouret as an assistant designer to ‘Head of Womenswear’, her second lightbulb moment switched on. Assessing life some eight years after settling in London, she re-examined a life-long ambition to kickstart her own brand; feeling a strong urge to shake up her routine, and also garner some urban relief… Soon, she was booking flights back to the home turf and setting up studio in the gorgeous surrounds of (family-owned) Durhamstown Castle.
Launching her eponymous label last autumn, Prickett debuted an instantly strong design identity; an introduction that less experienced makers might struggle to nail. Mercifully ungoverned by trend guides or seasonal showings, her well-tailored wares somehow manage to sate maximalists, for their imaginative colour pairings, and minimalists (for their impeccable cut) in equal measure. Tactile materiality forms the core of each piece: Irish heritage fabrics are a recurrent fixture, alongside tartans woven in the Scottish Highlands, but these textiles are refreshed through a plethora of contemporary techniques.
Perhaps most appealing, however, is their sheer multi-functionality – her lemon-lavender suits, refined and unfussy, could seamlessly whisk you from work desk to drinks. This month, the first teasers of Prickett’s new collection emerge through a fashion film magicked by Rosie Barrett and Albert Hooi. These latest designs are playfully styled with “archive” garments which, as a season-less designer, makes perfect sense: her first batch of clothes bear as much relevancy as the last. You can snap up a selection of pieces from Atrium, or head straight to her website for the full spec. cleoprickett.com