In our ongoing series of designer profiles this month we catch up with Annette Allen, the creative force behind O.W.L watches, one of our most popular brands here at oceanj.
- What is your name and where are you from?
Annette Allen, Richmond North Yorkshire
- Did you always want to be a designer?
I was very creative as a child and always drawing, this led to me studying General art and design at Scarborough College and the specialising into Graphic Design.
- How did your career start?
I completed a HND in Graphic Design in Northampton and secured a job designing for clients through a Graphic design company. This is where I started designing watches that was almost twenty years ago now.
- What other careers you might have chosen had designing not been your chosen path?
It was always going to be design; if I wasn’t designing watches it would be pottery which is my second love.
- Tell us about how you start the process of designing / creating something.
With O.W.L I am able to design for myself with no boundaries, the watches are designed to be just beautiful watches that any woman would love to own, I’ve kept lots of variety across the collections so there is a watch for every occasion and taste.
I start by researching trends and ideas and then sketch my initial concepts. I then draw this in CAD to get the exact look I want.
- Where does the inspiration come from?
I’ve been around watches for a very long time now but I also look at fashion trends and other products like handbags and shoes, the Carnaby collection takes buckles and adds them to the watch strap as a feature in the same way you would see this on other products.
- From the initial idea to the completed product…. How long does the process usually take?
I design both a Spring Summer Collection and Autumn Winter collection for O.W.L each year and the whole process from start to finish can be up to 6 months.
- What designers do you admire?
I Admire many designers that set trends such as Mary Quant , Stella Mc Cartney, Alexander McQueen, I know it sounds like the obvious but I love what they have achieved.
- Do you have an all time favourite piece that you have designed?
I love all of them, although I do choose one from every season to wear myself and at the moment it’s the New Ledbury in Midnight Blue with Gold Highlights, it has very special blue plating which is darker and more luxurious than others.
- Do you have an all time favourite ‘object’ that you wish you had designed?
It’s not one specific thing but I love designs that push the boundaries further than the expected.
- What is your favourite colour and why?
Navy Blue, It’s rich and versatile as it can be worn casual or dressed up to be very smart, it’s just timeless
- Can you tell us what we might expect to see in your next collection?
A continual evolution and refinement across the current styles with a widening of the straps set for later in 2017.
- What hobbies do you have?
Aside from my two beautiful daughters, I love being outside and spending time at the beach or in the forests, I really enjoy Photography and I’m hoping to do more of that next year.
- Where is your most favourite place in the world and why?
Anywhere by the Sea, it’s very peaceful and beautiful
- Can you share with us something that nobody knows about you?
Three years ago I did a parachute jump which is something I have always wanted to do and it was just amazing. My next adventure is going to be the zip wire in Snowdonia which is over 1 mile long.
*With thanks to Annette for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer the questions and for being such an interesting interview.