New Collection - Emma Willis at Next




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From helping to deliver babies for a recent television show to designing her debut fashion range, exclusively for Next  it seems there is nothing Emma Willis can't do. Here, we caught up with the former model turned TV presenter to discuss the inspiration behind the range, which pieces are her personal favourites and what she has learned along the way.  


How does it feel to try your hand at designing clothes?

The project definitely took me by surprise and has been a real dream come true. Designing clothes is something I never initially thought I would be able to do, as I didn’t train in that field and I’m not naturally gifted with a pen and paper but I think it’s important to try new things and keep pushing myself. I don’t like to get complacent – sometimes you need to be scared in life, but in a good way.


Can you talk us through the design process?

It was quite daunting in the beginning as I’d never done anything like that before but thankfully I worked really closely with my stylist, Hannah Macleod, who is a wizard with clothes. We sat as a team with the Next designers and as much as we took our steer from them, as they know exactly what they’re doing and what their customer likes, they were also great at letting Hannah and I put our thoughts across for what we wanted to get out of it, too. It was a really equal collaboration and so exciting to watch how the designers at Next work – a real learning experience.


Where did you find inspiration for the collection?

I found it everywhere; in Hannah’s head, my head, the Next designers’ heads, in my house, from friends, from travelling to different places, magazines. I’m so lucky to be able to go to lots of different places and it’s always inspiring – you just have to open your eyes and look and things just jump out at you. Even in a home magazine you could see a cushion and think that print would be amazing for a jumpsuit or a beach cover-up. I think there’s inspiration everywhere you just have to be switched on to see it.



What are your favourite pieces from the collection?

I love the pyjamas and I’m really pleased with the beachwear offering too, which all interlinks so you can mix and match each piece. I also love the halter-neck navy top paired with the wide-leg trousers.


What has been the biggest learning curve in the process?

I’ve learned that just because you think something is going to work, it doesn’t mean that it will. And if a piece of clothing works on your body, it may not work on somebody else’s. For example, I prefer a shorter-sleeve T-shirt whereas some people prefer to cover their upper arms, or I don’t like really short shorts and neither does my mum, so making sure the range appealed to a variety of ages and sizes was very much at the forefront of our minds when putting all the pieces of the collection together.


Who do you envisage wearing the range?

I’m hoping that everybody – any age or size – can and will wear the range. It’s classic and simple and has that masculine/feminine feel, which I think is really easy to wear.




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