Founded in 2009 by Xavier Sheriff and Gemma Ruse, StudioXAG are a magic-weaving duo whose work we’ve featured before (here, here and here). No surprise then, that we’re fans of the spells they’ve cast upon many a shop window; their works for the likes of Diesel, Christian Louboutin and Fred Perry causing gasps of excitement and awe from design junkies around the world.
As expert makers, forward-thinkers, and lovers of the eccentric, the duo were perfect candidates for our ongoing Create GB project, so we tracked them down to talk tea, the 1920s, Roald Dahl and British creativity…
Where’s your hometown, and where are you based now?
Gemma: Originally from Leeds, now based in East London.
Xavier: London all the way.
Do you think location affects creativity?
Definitely. Your surroundings and environment influence and inspire you all the time.
Is Britain’s creative industry too London-centric?
It depends on your field to an extent. It would be very difficult to do what we do based anywhere else in the UK, but there are great creative communities all around the country. There has to be an epicentre/focus, you could say most things are too London-centric if you think that way…
How would you describe British creativity?
Diverse, forward thinking, playful, innovative, inspiring
If we could replace the Queen on bank notes with one iconic British design, which would you choose?
The London Underground map – so you always have one handy.
Has being British had an effect on your discipline?
Coming through the British art school system certainly effects how you channel your creativity. We found that by being fairly loose and open with briefs and tutorials – but ultimately relatively critical – it instills the need for you to set your own rules and march to the beat of your own drum.
Perhaps if the weather were better we’d be less inclined to work all the time?
What do you think the rest of the world’s view of British creativity is?
It seems to be pretty well respected. We’ve got a a long established cultural history and our designers, artists and art schools are world renowned.
The Swinging ’60s, punk, Hacienda-era Manchester… is there one period of intense British creativity that you’d like to have been a part of, and why?
Hanging out with the ‘Bright Young Things’ in the 1920s would have been amazing. To adorn oneself in fabulous attire and indulge in such a raucous frivolous lifestyle, pushing boundaries of taste and acceptability; being part vile, part fabulous and quite fascinating could be fun… if only for a little while.
Are there any quintessential British traditions that inform your work?
TEA, TEA, TEA.
The top 3 British creatives who have inspired you?
Tim Walker, Fredrikson Stallard and Roald Dahl.
Will you be watching the Olympics?
Yes. We have somehow acquired tickets to the wrestling! Will definitely be tuned into the opening ceremony too, cant wait to see what Danny Boyle has up his sleeve.
What makes you smile?
Lie-ins, eating well, dancing, dressing up, friends…
The best piece of advice you’ve ever been given…
When you can’t quite get something and it’s starting to stress you out BECOME AWESOME, and tackle one or more different little jobs that are nice and easy, come back to it when you’re fresh.
Fish and chips, Cornish pasties… what’s your favourite British dish?
Full English breakfast (nice veggie sausages for Gemma please).
We’re going to the pub and we’re buying, what are you drinking?
A pint please.
What’s next for you?
A bigger studio!