Interviewer: How did you get into fashion design?
Sam: Both my parents are artists. My mom’s a photographer and my dad’s a leathersmith. My mom picked up on my interest in looking at pictures in her fashion magazines and actually taught me to sew when I was pretty young.  I would even do clothing designs on paper without realising what I was doing. In high school, I started making my own clothes — mostly altering or adding on to other things because I never liked anything the way it was when I bought it. I also made a lot of jewellery -turquoise was the stone of choice.
Interviewer: What did you study at college?
Sam: I started out as a jewellery major. After randomly ending up in a textile class focusing on surface design, I realised that I could make my own fabrics and then make clothing out of them. I completely fell in love with all aspects of textile design and had to sort of give up the jewellery thing , even though I still loved it. Maybe I’ll go back to that one day. I ended up as both a fashion design and fibres major.
Interviewer: As part of your course, did you have to do any kind of apprenticeship with an established designer? How was that?
Sam: The last two and a half years of school, I worked for a small business that makes hand-painted silk clothing, bags and accessories. The owner was actually one of my teachers … there were four of us altogether – I was really lucky she chose me as one of them  – and we hand-painted all the fabric, then shipped it off to be sewn in California. It’s good to get this experience — you need it at least as much as you need a college diploma if you’re going to succeed as a designer.
Interviewer: So what do you think really inspired you to get into fashion design?
Sam: It was something that started when I was really young. One theory I have is that I’ve always been a rather timid person – extremely so in fact. I gradually realised that clothing was something that drew attention to me and made people talk to me so I wouldn’t have to start conversations. This helped me a lot.  I think that’s also where my thing for turquoise comes in: it’s such a unique colour and in my experience, people are really interested in it, they’re sort of drawn to it,
Interviewer: Can you tell us about your philosophy as far as fashion is concerned?
Sam: Fashion design is of course functional. Not that all art isn’t functional in some way, but it’s something you can actually touch and feel and interact with. In a way, it’s sort of like music – its a part of our daily life, and so should be something we really love. I mean, we can kind of be creative through the way we dress or decorate our own bodies. And then you get all this immediate feedback and reactions out of people you meet and their thoughts on what you’re doing. Above all, I just really believe that the right clothing and colour can make you feel better about yourself and can give you more confidence. I think many people dress in a very boring manner in this country — sometimes even ugly – and I just don’t get it. We like to be surrounded by beautiful things so why wouldn’t we want our clothing to be beautiful as well? 
Interviewer: How do you now feel about fashion as a business?
Sam: I started making clothing because I had to. I had to satisfy a creative need that I couldn’t in any other way. It’s not always that easy though, I think it is important for young artists and designers to know this: everyone gets so much criticism these days for ‘selling out’ or abandoning their principles, but sometimes you have to do certain things, compromise, in order to keep doing the thing that makes you happy. I started making clothing to sell because I needed money, not because that was my goal. I started with the idea that everything would be hand-made and one-of-a-kind, I wanted to do costume and custom orders only. I would love that, but right now it’s just not possible for me. I have to start producing more of one thing because the I can occupy my time in the way I want to. 
Jack and I’ve had some of our most formative experiences together. After leaving school we spent a month travelling round Europe by train, one of the most exhilarating times of my life ever. It was particularly good because I was with Jack who always sees the silver lining in anything. So even when we missed our connection and had to spend the night on a cold dark station, we somehow still managed to have a good time, talking about life, the universe and everything.  If it hadn’t been for my cousin, we might never have met thought. They went to school together and we got to know each other when I was staying with her once. 
Why do I feel so close to Karen? On first impressions I think most people find us rather unlikely friends. She’s into loads of different kinds of sport and I’m not at all! We’ve totally different tastes in music and our jobs are completely different — she’s a nurse and I’m a computer programmer. But somehow we’ve always got on ever since the day we got to know each other on a beach in Spain, where both our families were spending the same fortnight — and our friendship has somehow been cemented by the fact that we share the dream of emigrating to Canada. [22,27] We spend lots of time discussing how best to do this and things are beginning to fall into place now.
Paul is without a doubt my best friend. I’ve got other friends who I’ve known for far longer, a couple since primary school even, but I still feel that Paul and I are far more on the same wavelength. Maybe because we both had the same terrible Saturday job. It was really hard work delivering leaflets. We had these heavy bags to carry and it always seemed to be cold and wet and the pay was dreadful.  Anyway, that’s probably what bonded us. We knew each other a bit before that – we’d met at a mutual friend’s birthday – but I wouldn’t say we were close at first.  Now we spend most of our weekends together and I’d never make any big decisions without discussing them with Paul first.
I’m glad you’re going to meet Suzie at my party this Friday. I’m sure you’ll find you’ve got lots in common — you’re both keen horse riders for a start. That’s not something I share with her of course. But she and I have shared all our hopes and worries ever since we first made friends watching our brothers ‘s football team. That would have been when we were about twelve or thirteen years old, I guess . She never complains when I’m moaning about how much work I’ve got to do and she’s always the first person I’d turn to when I need sensible advice over some problem or another. 
You ask me who my best friend is. Once upon a time, not so long ago, I’d have said that Tom was. He’s got such a wicked sense of humour and is brilliant company. But recent events have shown him not to be such a loyal friend as I’d imagined. He passed on a secret I’d shared with him and I felt a bit let down. Anyway now I think I’d say it’s Ben. We got talking when we were on a long railway journey a couple of years ago and have kept in touch.  We don’t meet all that often but it’s always good when we do. I particularly appreciate the tells me thinks. Not many people do that.