William Tempest

Work by William Tempest

BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear

William Tempest is a British fashion designer based in London. Originally from Cheshire in the north of England, William moved to London at the age of 18 to study BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear at London College of Fashion. 

During his time at LCF he worked for fashion designer Giles Deacon and following his graduation in 2009, he caught the eye of designer Donatella Versace who selected him to show his first collection at London Fashion Week. In 2010, following the success of his debut New York Fashion Week show, William was presented with a WGSN Global Fashion Award for Best Emerging Talent, judged by over 50 influential decision makers.

Synonymous with luxury and modernism, his work explores innovative cutting and experimental shape making, and focuses on a high level of construction and quality. Fans of the William Tempest brand include Kate Moss, Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Michelle Williams and Emma Watson to name but a few. William Tempest has also featured in international press including publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Baazar, Tatler, i-D, and WWD. Most recently, William was featured in The Sunday Times Power List as one of the most influential 25 people under 25 and collaborated with River Island on a womenswear collection, for Autumn/Winter 2012.

William’s design talent is also regularly sought outside the field of high fashion. Most notably, William created an art installation in Queen Victoria’s bedroom for the Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace, alongside designer Vivienne Westwood and milliner Stephen Jones. He has also appeared as a judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, designed an advertising campaign for Diesel, curated an exhibition on sustainable urban design with Mercedes Benz, designed a laptop case for SonyVAIO and worked with other global brands.

William took some time out of his incredibly busy schedule to meet us for a coffee, talk about life since graduation and tell us about his recent projects.

When was it that you decided you wanted to become a fashion designer?

When I was 15 I read the Galliano biography, written by Colin McDowell. It was really inspirational for me and I decided that I wanted to work in fashion design. 

Tell us about the ethos behind the brand, William Tempest?

I would describe William Tempest as timeless, effortless, directional, and glamorous. I make clothes for women to feel good in.

I know it’s been a few years since you were a student, but how was your time at LCF?

It was a fun time and I have so many great memories of my student days. Quite a few people I was hanging around with back then have done incredibly well in fashion. I used to live with Ada Zanditon who's doing so well.

You started working for Giles Deacon while you were still studying at LCF. Do you think that helped you to gain real-world experience before you graduated?

Absolutely, I was there for nearly two years and it was an amazing, fun and a great learning experience. I was able to put to practice all the skills I was learning on my course in a real life environment.

How did the skills that you developed at LCF help you in the real world?

Practical skills such as pattern-making are really important to me, I cut a large amount of my own patterns and shapes and my design process incorporates a lot of experimentation on the stand and then translating this to sketching and back and forth.

What have you been up to in Dubai?

I've been in living between Dubai and London for the past two years, working with private clients. It is the culture in the Middle East to have dresses designed and made for you, and as my ready-to-wear is well received in Middle Eastern boutiques it was a natural fit. It has given me the experience of working with women privately and learning how to apply my designs to different body shapes and tastes.

Tell us about the Body Shop 'Brush with Fashion' project that you worked with LCF on?

I was asked to be involved with the advertising campaign by designing a dress, and we then showed the dress and some of my other pieces at fashion shows in London and Stockholm, to launch one of the Body Shop’s Make-Up ranges. The Body Shop team were amazing to work with.

You have done a few collaborations to date; do you enjoy working with other creative mediums?

I love to collaborate with others, and it allows me to work outside of fashion from time to time. I have just finished designing my own range for River Island, which will be sold internationally and will help to expand the William Tempest brand and name. I've also put my hand to designing things such as packaging for cosmetics, laptop cases, advertising, and I even designed a dress with Disney.

What advice will you give design graduates leaving university today?

  • Find a work placement whilst you're studying, it will give you an advantage when you graduate. 
  • Be clear about your aesthetic and question if it is desirable, employable.
  • Be flexible and open-minded with any opportunities that do come your way, as you often have to start somewhere to get somewhere else.
  • If you really want it don't give up!