Kit Miles founded the eponymous studio in 2013 with one vision: to create a textile collection steeped in the values of quality, exquisite draughtsmanship and a futuristic, often surprising use of scale colour and imagery.
The studio’s breadth and skill in executing fine product is continually developing, highlighting a restless drive towards the exploration of what print design is now and what it could be next.
In 2021, Kit was awarded his first Design Guild Mark for the Kit Miles Fabric Wallpaper Collection. We sat down with the designer to find out more about his career to date.
Who is your design hero?
Nature! While I find inspiration from a wealth of designers, it is the natural world that I feel I draw from the most.
When did you first decide you were going to be a designer?
I decided I wanted to become a designer when I was ten. I was (and still am) a bit of a dreamer with a healthy dose of geekiness and have always loved expressing myself with creating design concepts. I once drew up a concept for a mag lev train that would tour the arctic; I designed the train, the stations, and all the cabins as well as the graphic identity. I think if you are a designer, you should be able to turn your hand to anything.
What was your first big break in the industry?
I have had many moments which I have felt are my next big breakthrough, and with each accomplishment, I set myself new challenges to push myself ever further. When I graduated my mission was to get featured in all the glossy publications; when I achieved that it was about winning contracts and projects. Now I am very focused on the environment and feel energised by the thought that the next big break may give something back to the natural world that I find so inspirational.
What was the first product you ever designed?
A series of carpets which an interiors scout bought from my final show at the Royal College of Art. I don’t know where those designs are now, but I have since gone on to work with Moooi in partnership with my brand, creating a beautiful collection of broadloom carpets for the project market.
What do you enjoy about being a designer?
Being able to spend time thinking up ideas and making them a reality. It really is a dream come true.
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
It can initially feel frustrating if one has an idea for a system or a new design but feeling unsure of how to make it a material reality. But in these moments, I take the opportunity to tune into my natural curiosity and remind myself that if I knew everything before I set out to create it, I wouldn’t be developing and learning along the way. The frustration, then, turns into a sort of joyful exploration and a ‘doing’.
Which design are you most proud of?
The latest collections I am working on really are among my favourite work. I have a new design coming called Akira which I named after one of my favourite movies. It’s a series of blurred forms which suggest flowers that appear to be in motion, or a night-time city scape. By printing onto a grass cloth the whole product is elevated. The effect is both abstract and evocative. I love it.
What is your creative process?
Upon finding something that excites or preoccupies me, I immerse myself in images and ideas related to that subject. I then go through my archive of images and drawings and the work begins to emerge. I like to render images in high detail, using pencils, paper, and anything else I need to create the effect I envision.
What influences you?
Science, technology, films and, of course, the natural world. The world around us is endlessly inspiring but often, the most generative ideas and inspirations come in whispers. It is important to me to be attuned and sensitive to the quieter but no less significant details in culture and life that fire up my imagination and lead to exciting design journeys.
Is there a product you wish you’d designed?
I don’t think in that way, I suppose if there was a dream project, it would be to turn my hand to the design of a boutique hotel where every detail is designed right down to the door handles. In that sense, it is not a single product but a fully, connected experience, should that be what design is all about?
For more information about Kit Miles, go to https://www.kitmiles.co.uk/