Inside Peter Pilotto's Print Factory

As far as workplaces go, Peter Pilotto's Haggerston studio, which looks out over the canal, is about as covetable as they come. The best view, though, is of the label's dazzling fall/winter ‘14 collection, which takes pride of place in the company's meeting room. Colourful screens and stools and the odd cheerleader print also add personality to the offices, while exposed piping and rows of sewing machines create a raw, industrial counterpoint. This is where the magic happens, folks.
And, just what is that magic? In addition to running one of London’s strongest labels, Peter Pilotto and partner Christopher De Vos have managed to bag this year's BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Then there's the wildly popular collaboration for Target and Net-A-Porter — have you been to a cocktail party this year without seeing those ubiquitous (and totally chic) printed skater dresses?
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Ahead, a behind-the-scenes peek of the design duo's inspirational studio space, plus an interview with the guys themselves. What makes these print masters tick? What's the secret to their success? Click through to find out.
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What do you love about this location?
Peter (right): "We moved to our new studio in July last year. It is three times bigger than our old studio, which is amazing. We were so lucky to find the space. We just happened to be walking past and we saw it when it was still just a shell. This meant we were able to work on the design of it with the architects Matheson and Whiteley right from the very beginning. We are incredibly happy with how it turned out."

What’s your commute like?
Christopher (left): "We live next door to the studio, so very quick!"
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
How do you each mentally prepare yourself for the work day ahead?
Peter: "We take every day as it comes — it's always very busy."
Christopher: "As we are both the designers and the CEOs of the company, we have to have the ability to switch between business and creative, which can be difficult but we really enjoy it."

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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
Tell us about your fall 2014 collection. What was your inspiration?
Peter: "We played with contrasts and extremes: the juxtaposition of incorporating sportswear into formal wear and summer elements into winter clothing. We explored intense colouring and the use of different fabrics, textures, and techniques. We find it interesting to use classical techniques such as embroidery in a modern, graphic way. We are always inspired by art, nature, and alternative ways of viewing something familiar."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
Your Target collaboration was such a huge success. Do you have any plans to do another commercial line in the future?
Christopher: "The Target collaboration was such an amazing experience for us. We really enjoyed the challenge of working within certain limitations. It forced us to think and design differently and this was something we really relished."
Peter: "It was a fantastic journey, but we would really like to focus on our main line for now."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
How has winning the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund changed your business?
Christopher: "Winning the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund was such an incredible moment for us; to have been nominated alongside such talented designers was a true honour. As we start to apply our winnings to the company — both the financial aspect and the mentoring — over the next year, I think we will really see it evolve."

How will you use it to grow your label?
Peter: "We have lots of plans that we are very excited to put into action."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
Who best exemplifies the Peter Pilotto woman?
Peter: "We have always been told that we appeal to a wide range of woman. We have never designed with just one person in mind, but an amalgamation of people we love and admire. So, really, the Peter Pilotto woman could be a range of women."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
How and when do you work best?
Christopher: "It depends on what we are doing."
Peter: "Ideally we like the studio to be tidy, but with so many people it is not easy to keep it that way!"
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What is the best bit of business advice you’ve ever received?
Christopher: "We are always receiving valuable advice from the people around us, which we are very appreciative of."
Peter: "Running a business is a constant learning curve."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What’s your number-one rule for wearing prints?
Christopher: "It's important to feel comfortable, whether you wear a full look or mix a printed piece with something simpler."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What is your workplace style like?
Peter: "The space is very industrial and clean, which complements the bright, colourful, and graphic nature of our clothes."

Do you have a dress code for yourself or your employees?
Christopher: "No, our staff are allowed to wear what they like. We enjoy seeing the different way they all dress."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What is your work mantra?
Christopher: "We don't like to look back — we always look forward to the next thing. We rarely reflect on what is past."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
How do you switch off from work?
Peter: "I don't think we really do. There is always so much going on it's very difficult not to think about the company and where it is going."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What are your local hangouts in the area?
Peter: "We love The Towpath on Regent's Canal. They host amazing cosy dinners by candlelight with delicious food and wine. We like going to The Barbican to the latest exhibition, and Broadway Market at the weekend is fun and bustling with a good atmosphere."
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
What’s the best part about working with a partner?
Christopher: "We have been working together for a long time and have grown and evolved together with the brand. We complement each other as we look at things in very different ways, but ultimately we have the same taste."
Peter: "It's a constant dialogue between the two of us."

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