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London College of Fashion

Natasha 
        Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

Profession
Machine Embroidery Manager
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Natasha  Searls-Punter

Biography

Led by her career ambitions, Natasha moved from Surrey to London to be at the heart of the fashion and creative industries. In this interview she tells us how, after a few twists and turns, she ended up studying BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery at LCF. She's currently working as Machine Embroidery Manager for Hawthorne & Heaney, a bespoke embroidery company based in central London.

Interview

Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?

I always knew it would be a creative career that I wanted to pursue, though I didn't know it would be necessarily be fashion related. As I went through my education, my studies seemed to get more and more specific, until I found myself in quite a niche little field which I now feel lucky enough to say I work in.

Tell us a bit more about your current role

I work on a wide variety of pieces as all the work is bespoke. These can include costume, interiors and fashion / tailoring to ceremonial, ecclesiastical and conceptual art works. Recently we have been working on producing pieces for FKA Twigs' Magdelene tour, Marvel's Dr Strange, Angels costumier and Joshua Kane's Journey and Fantasy collections.

Natasha's work at Hawthorne & Heaney for Dr Strange and FKA Twigs

For you, what's the best thing about your profession?

The variety. I rarely know what I will be working on week to week so there is little time to get bored, and we are always pushing the boundaries of what we could achieve.

Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?

I'm in the middle of a pretty big project at the moment but most of my work is protected by non-disclosure agreements until it comes out in the public eye (at least), so all I can say is to watch out on our blog and Instagram if you want to know what I have been getting up to.

Natasha's work for Dame Diana Rigg in 'My Fair Lady' Lincoln Center 2019, photography by Joan Marcus

Let's talk a bit more about your time at LCF. Why did you decide to study here?

I wanted to study in London to be at the heart of the industry in the UK in the hope to put myself in a good position to transition into a job.

Why did you choose to study Embroidery?

During my A Levels I started to understand that I was more interested in 3D rather than flat pieces, and textiles gave me the scope to explore that. Embroidery allowed me to focus on the texture of a piece to create the imagery, mood or structure as desired.

What did you enjoy the most about your course?

The access to a wide range of machinery and techniques gave me the opportunity to explore as much as I could in the time there. Whilst I wouldn't say that the pattern cutting aspects of my course were my favourite or even that I was particularly good at it, I have found that my pattern cutting knowledge is vital to the current application of my embroderies.

About your final project: Which topic did you explore and why did you choose it?

Victorian mourning cultures and practices. People always associate embroidery with birds and flowers so I wanted to explore something else. It's sad and beautiful, and I found that irresistible. The research process is daunting, trying to pick something to work on is very difficult and it feels lke there is a lot of pressure on it, but once you get into it you can just enjoy the primary research for what it is.

What is the best piece of advice you received during your time at LCF?

Try everything you can when you are at uni, even if you don't think it's for you. Often the most interesting things come out of the happy accidents.

And what advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol at this course?

Creatively, don't overthink it, just do. Technically, don't just do it, think.

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