Wayne Hemingway – Fashion & Textiles

An Interview with Wayne Hemingway Judges Interviews


Judging all the entries for the inaugural Creative Conscience Awards:UK is proving to be a long process. It is also a deeply inspiring one. Not just because of the awesome quality of the entries we’ve received but because we also get to spend quality time with some of the creatives we most admire.

Aside from the judging, we’ve been chatting about what inspires them and why they’ve chosen to become part of this ambitious initiative.

Here’s what designer, Wayne Hemingway had to say…

What is the single most interesting brief you’ve worked on during your career?

The Staiths South Bank’ – on the banks of the River Tyne in Gateshead – because it delivered life changing, affordable housing.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My wife and partner, Gerardine.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

That has to be the advice given to my by a shoe manufacturer back in the ‘Red or Dead’ days. He asked me what our name stood for. I responded by referencing its political meaning to me (better Red than Dead …and all that). Curiously, he responded by stating that what I had just told him was the meaning behind the name but I hadn’t actually explained what my brand stood for. I was nonplussed. And then he asked me “what’s your favourite food ?”. Now, I have always loved cereal (back then Cornflakes and Weetabix combined) and I chose these not because of cool graphics of chickens or wheat fields on the packets but because of my enduring passion for long distance running (those reduced sugar-cereals helped me to avoid a stitch). He then asked me what trainers I wore. “Nike”, I replied. He asked me why and I realised what he was getting at. I wore Nike, not because of its brand image or the advertising that surrounded it, but because the two men who had founded the company were both marathon runners who named their business after the Greek mythological God, Nike. Because of that, I found myself trusting the brand because it was fundamentally all about running. That led me to understand that what a company believes in – what it stands for – is massively important. Depth, authenticity and a ‘raison d’etre’ are important.

What advice would you give a creative student today?

Think about what you are about. Show potential employers what you believe in – help them to see what you stand for.

In this culture of fear and cautiousness, what is the future of design?

I am very excited about the future of design. It’s essential that we create things that improve lives focusing on the things that really matter.

What is it about this initiative that has inspired you to get involved?

For the same reason as my last answer. As designers, our role is to make a positive change and to give back.

How does your creative conscience express itself in your work?

Whoever we are working with, be it affordable housing providers or multi-national brands like McDonald’s or Coca Cola, we are all about improving the things that matter in life.

Interview by: Chrissy Levett and Kate Burton