Lou Stoppard: What does the fashion show itself symbolise to you?
Simone Rocha: For me the show is everything - it's the feeling, the vision, the story .
Lou Stoppard: How do you begin work on a collection?
Simone Rocha: I start by research, looking in books, or vising places - last summer I was very fortunate to visit the artist Louise Bourgeois's home in New York, that was unbelievability inspiring. This season the collection started with an Ed Templeton book on teenager kisses and CY Twombly sculptures.
Lou Stoppard: What’s the starting point for this collection?
Simone Rocha: I work the research into mood-boards, then I start working on the stand while also sketching all the new ideas. It all happens in a jumble of trying to get everything down as well as trying to see physical things.
Lou Stoppard: You seem to have a huge passion for reference imagery, why is research so important to your work?
Simone Rocha: I love looking at things, everything, people, photographs, nature, plants, absorbing the feelings you get from seeing things. It's all about emotion, whether I see something as ugly or beautiful and it is about collecting those visuals and allowing them to make you think.
Lou Stoppard: You're an innovator with fabrics and textiles. Where does that passion come from?
Simone Rocha: I believe it is the Irish hand craft, the hand knit, and the hand crochet in my dad's early collections. There was a lot of hand painting on clothes, which were really tactile like the poppy dress. If you hand work something I believe you can really see that in the finished product. I also think that the mix creates something new.
Lou Stoppard: What's the biggest pressure when it comes to designing a new collection?
Simone Rocha: Wanting to keep everything fresh, you can't reinvent the wheel or in this case the skirt. So it's about making it modern, yet it still needs to be appealing - it can't be so modern that it looks like it has come down from space.
Lou Stoppard: How to you move on from a previous season?
Simone Rocha: Fresh research, and these day I find once I have finished the collection I can see how it could have been developed more, and you push that motivation onto the next collection.
Lou Stoppard: Talk to me about finding the balance between staying true to your core aesthetic and challenging yourself each season?
Simone Rocha: I feel really lucky because I think it is just built in me. The contrast and balance has always excited me. What I do has always been a part of me and I'm not trying to be anyone else or a part of a certain movement or anything like that. The challenge is to do what we do and just make it that bit better each season, and be open to all new things whether it is fabric or a new photographer who has the same vision.
Lou Stoppard: Is music and casting equally as important to you as the clothes themselves?
Simone Rocha: Most defiantly, the girl last season was a pony kid. In the field in Ireland she is beautiful but a bit rough. The girls we cast had that in them, a beauty but also a strength and they trotted down the catwalk to PJ Harvey and Karen O.
Lou Stoppard: Some people criticise the fashion show, calling it expensive and a poor way to show of a designer's skill. What do you say to that?
Simone Rocha: The show is the essence of what I do and it why I got into fashion - the drama and excitement of shows, growing up seeing McQueen shows with models walking on water or in a snow globe. I have been lucky to go to shows for most of my life and I still today find them so emotional, the way they manage to invoke a feeling with clothes is amazing. It very important to me. We want to sell clothes but not just garments - you want whoever wears it to feel something as well, otherwise they won't care what they wear. For me the concept is not dated and it's a skill in itself telling a story with a show.
Lou Stoppard: Who's opinion matters to you, after the show?
Simone Rocha: My parents, Louise Wilson - my past professor - and my stockists who I have valued relationships with like Dover Street Market, Colette and I.T. Also the BFC as it wouldn't be possible to do what I do without their support with the NEWGEN sponsorship.
Lou Stoppard: You're part of the young, talented Central Saint Martins crop of grads - is there any rivalry between you all?
Simone Rocha: I believe there is a common respect for everyone as we all went to the same course as students. We all had different experiences and all came out the other side of it, so I think it's more a respect than a rivalry.
Lou Stoppard: Who else will you be watching this season?
Simone Rocha: Louise Gray.
Lou Stoppard: What does showing in London mean to you?
Simone Rocha: Everything - it's my home and my base, and my support here is so wonderful. I wouldn't want to show anywhere else, it's really exciting here right now. Also today the calibre of press and stockists that come to London is of the highest international standard.
Lou Stoppard: Where do you hope to be this time next year?
Simone Rocha: In my studio prepping for my SS14.