As lovers of all things fashion and avant garde it made sense for us to catch up with one of our favourite designers, Ashley. The mastermind behind Mystic Magic the brand that specialises in handcrafting exclusive bespoke designs for both ladies and gentlemen to suit any occasion from the classic to truly unusual. Join us as we get to know Ashley a little more below;
Tell us a little about yourself and your work?
I’m pretty much a small-town kind of guy that loves to dream big with inspiring visions for the future. Born and raised in the wild flat lands of Norfolk, I’ve always had an eye for anything creative and with fashion being a huge influence in my life too I enjoy combining both within my work.
I like to think of myself as an artistic Creative Fashion Designer whose skills and tastes are ever evolving making me able to challenge the normal way of thinking and push the boundaries to a whole new level of wowness!
To many people’s surprise I’m completely self-taught in what I do and have had no prior forms of training which funnily I think may sometimes annoy others even though I still tirelessly work just as hard as anyone else, maybe even more so as my attention to intricate detail can be a tad OTT at times. I’m a total out of the box thinker that passionately draws upon the weird and unusual to experiment with all sorts of unpractical methods and materials when crafting my unique designs. Each of my creations interprets an inner reflection of myself or my emotions in a way that every design has its own story tell and eagerly waits for the wearer to bring them to life.
What’s the inspiration behind the brand name?
The name Mystic Magic is inspired by all things mystical with tangled roots drawn deep towards the darker side of folklore and gothic fairytales using the world of fantasy as a smoky backdrop to entwine within each of my artistic creations. As mentioned my skills are ever evolving and with it so does the Mystic Magic brand keeping that enticing shroud of mystery ever high as you can never quite tell what will happen next.
How did you get into fashion design?
I first came into fashion design at High School as a creative outlet or rather release from the harsh reality of being bullied. In times where I found I had lost all sense of control I decided to channel and gain it back through the future of my career path. I eventually took the dramatic step to drop out and devote my life to establishing the Mystic Magic brand to what it is now. I’ve made it my life’s rule to only mix and work with likeminded creatives that glow with positive vibes and are all inspiring – those that are not will get booted!
Who are the fashion icons that have influenced your work the most?
Alexander McQueen has to be one of the most memorable designer icons that never fails to inspire me but my hunger for inspiration is never ending and I often find myself in fleeting phases of enjoying one icons work to the next. I’m often always influenced by various music artists such as Lady Gaga (obviously!) and as of the moment along with everything around me to inspire, I’m hooked on creative costume designers and movies – Tim Burton films are a great inspiration.
What’s been your highlight to date?
I’ve had so many amazing achievements that most may never reach in a lifetime such as commissions from Strictly Come Dancing, Clothes Show… and in every way, I’m grateful for each of them but one of my all-time and recent highlights has to be handcrafting an all exclusive Ice Queen crown for Swedish stylist Patrick Häusermann who showcased it on a giant catwalk show at this year’s Energy Fashion Night event in Zurich. They had real snow floating down onto the stage and combined with the most perfect music ever, the whole thing took my breath away!
What have been your biggest challenges within the industry?
A steady stream of opportunities and being able to make a suitable living have been some of the harshest challenges I’ve faced within the fashion industry as I’m sure it is the same with plenty of others who are full time self-employed too. It can often be famine or feast.
If you could change one thing about your career what would it be and why?
Not sure if there is anything I could change other than having more confidence. I mostly believe everything happens for a reason and that it gets us to where we are today with those rather annoying valuable life lessons learned along the way. Knowing my luck if I was to go about changing things it may very well affect the outcome of the opportunities I’ve been lucky with, even if there may have been a few horrible experiences I wanted to erase, they were all milestones that made me achieve who I am today.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Ha! I can barely see myself a few months from now let alone years! But I would hope to think I will be closer to my end goal of Mystic Magic being an international crazy fashion house admired by all and that I’d have done my first catwalk collection and show at London Fashion Week. Some extra cash in the bank and a few sunny holidays might be nice too!
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
It would be a total dream to collaborate with Walt Disney as a costume designer on one of their live action remakes of a classic fairytale movie. Maybe the Little Mermaid as they have yet to do an updated version on that. The idea of being able to go in a cinema and watch someone famous wearing one of my creations and getting recognition for it would be just as good as if I was actually acting on screen with them – kind of has that immortality feel to it. If you could dress any celebrity who would it be and why?
If you had asked me that a few years ago I’d immediately have said Lady Gaga with her no limits fashion statements. Asked me the same question last year I’d kind of said Paloma Faith for her quirkiness, but now I feel more stuck in thought about who I would actually choose… Randomly I’m thinking Cara Delevingne as I love her natural beauty but also would choose from Rihanna, Katy Perry or Beyoncé for their outlandish creative fashion choices. Guess so not to be greedy I would still very much love to go with Lady Gaga if she would have me style her.
If in some freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another fashion industry insider for a day, who would it be and why?
Definitely would have to be someone within the Alexander McQueen fashion house so that I could see all the imaginative clothing garments up and close without any glass cabinets or barriers as well as being able to get an insider’s look at the process of how they craft everything. An even smarter choice would be to do a switch with someone who gets to hop from one fashion house to the next and mingle with all the influential creatives. I’d so need more than a day, maybe a week!!
And finally, what tips would you give to an aspiring fashion designer? Always trust in your heart with your own creative decisions and never let anyone try to deter you from achieving your ultimate goals cause if you can clearly imagine what you want from life then you can most certainly aim to succeed. Milestones good or bad are there to help better us with life’s little lessons, they can’t change our past but it can most certainly help to positively shape our future.
Always dream big and never be too afraid of going over the top crazy with your ideas as the more uniquely different your designs are from everyone else’s, the better you’ll stand out in making a new kind of statement and gaining that public attention which will help loads in getting your name out there. Believe in your artistic passion and it shall light the way.