First of all, could you outline who you are and what your job is? What does a typical day in the life of a Creative Director look like?
I’m Andrew Foxall, Creative Director at Foxall Studio in London. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many typical days — they are generally a mix of checking work progress, detailing productions, putting proposals/budgets together, presenting to clients, and some creative thinking time in between all that.
What and where did you study at university, and how has the experience been useful to your career?
I did a Fine Art foundation course at an independent school in Edinburgh, before studying Fashion Textiles BA at Liverpool John Moores, followed by a Fashion Design MA in Domus Academy in Milan.
I didn’t really find that I matched any of the guidance I was being offered until I met a particular tutor on my MA, whose clear understanding of my work helped me to start on the same direction that I’m on now.
What do you perceive the importance of having a mentor like your MA tutor to be?
The build up of mutual respect over time that meant I could critique my work more constructively, with better perspective.
Do you remember what career path you wanted to pursue upon graduating? What were your goals at the time?
I wasn’t clear about my goals. I graduated top of my class in the MA and so was selected by IDEO to work in their London studio. They had lots of fashion projects at the time, including working alongside Rem Koolhaas to deliver the new Prada concept stores.
That was fun to work on, but after that project I found myself designing car dashboards, and I suddenly felt like I had to make new goals. At that point a friend from my MA invited me for a three-month job in Istanbul, where I ended up staying for seven years.
Could you describe your journey to founding your own multi-disciplinary studio in 2006? What inspired you to take the reigns of your career?
After Istanbul, I was about to go back to the UK when I was offered the job of designing and art directing a new fashion magazine. It turned out to be great content, and there was nothing like it in Istanbul.
So I stayed, but almost overnight I had upset the old guard of photographers and stylists by moving them aside and putting the new wave in the light. That led to me starting a company with some creatives I met through the magazine, which was nuts, and a lot of fun.
When that imploded two years later, I started Foxall Studio with my brother out in Istanbul, and moved it back to London a few years later.
So you spent much of your career working abroad in Istanbul — how has this influenced the way you work today?
It was valuable to be given free reign on projects in Istanbul. I wasn’t from the culture and so they had to judge me on my work, and not fuzzy it with ideas of who I was in relation to them. In the UK it seemed like even at 20 paces someone is already desperately trying to work you out. It slows things down, I think. Especially as a graduate.
What you perceive the value of working abroad to be?
Being judged purely on the merits of your work, and that you can offer a new perspective.
And why did you move back to London?
Ultimately, we moved back because the work was more interesting in London. My brother made the call first, and it took a motorbike crash and the subsequent time out for me to realise that it was the right thing to do.
What advice would you give to a young creative hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Seek out mentors. Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Don’t ride motorbikes.