Samuel Dougal is the next big thing in women’s fashion – he’s the up-and-coming designer of the rich and famous. The 26-year-old, who learnt his trade at Alexander McQueen and Savil Row, has designed dresses for a host of celebrities including Rihanna, Amanda Holden and Beyoncé.
His big break came when he was 20, studying Bespoke Tailoring at the London College of Fashion. Dissatisfied and uninspired by his work, Samuel did what so many young people do, and took to Twitter. He sent a message to music gonzo and fashion maven Paloma Faith telling her he wanted to design something for her. Paloma ended up wearing Samuel’s blood red, tweed suit to the Elle Style Awards.
Five years later, the young man from southern Cornwall, is one of the hottest haute couture designers in London. We spoke exclusively to him about emojis, his fear of paperwork, and why he craves salty skin.
Tell me something about you that most people don’t know?
I was a vegetarian for 20 years, until a friend introduced me to crispy duck. It was a blip, and I’m back on the vegetables – and seafood.
If a genie were to grant you one wish, what would it be?
I’d give the wish away and hope somebody used it to spread some light.
What was your last thought before going to bed?
Harris tweed or Llama wool…?
A good day is…?
A bad day is…?
Less than 8 hours sleep.
What’s on your night table?
A copy of George Du Mauriers ‘Trilby’ and a sea urchin from St.Ives.
Which fictional figure do you identify with, and why?
Yoda – “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
What’s your favourite place for lunch?
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Most used emoji?
Preach. (Apply to favourite place for lunch…)
What’s your computer screensaver?
My screen is rarely inactive for long enough, I can’t remember
If you could invent something, what would it be, and why?
A personal assistant machine who did everything you wanted doing before you realised you wanted it done!
Music you love…?
Music you hate…
No names – but most teenage bands.
What three things are vital to your day?
My daily Mum update, a notebook and some moments of peace.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought? (Aside from property!)
A 12k watch. Not worth it. The time is everywhere.
What’s your greatest fear?
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I collect perfume. And it’s not cheap. I love a well crafted fragrance.
What flavour of ice cream are you, and why?
Pistachio – creative and complex.
There’s a fire in your house, what item do you save?
A wooden box my great grandmother gave me, that I’ve filled with little momentos, and sentimental stuff, which I’m a major hoarder of.
What’s the hardest criticism you’ve ever received?
I don’t recall ever receiving major criticism, but I know I’ve made mistakes – but despite the regret or whatever emotion they caused, I’m glad I made them. You live, you learn.
What piece of advise would you give your 20-year-old self?
‘Don’t worry about the thoughts of others. It really doesn’t matter’.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
At the time not so embarrassing, but when I was six my Mum allowed me to dress as a butterfly for a village carnival… The pictures recently resurfaced.
What’s your proudest moment?
At the time… Getting chosen to be Rihannas personal wardrobe assistant for a year.
Now… waking up everyday knowing that I’m in charge of what I do each day.
What do you think about the most?
Colour you love?
Colour you abhor?
What inspires you?
How old were you when you knew you wanted to do what you are doing today?
Around 13 years old. But it was confirmed at 14 after leaving Philip Treacys studio after being invited to meet with him.
What was your first piece?
My first piece was a light blue paisley jacket. Not so proud.
My first piece for a paying client was when I was 20, and it was a scarlet tweed skirt suit for Paloma Faith for the Elle Style Awards.
If you were a country, which one would you be?
I choose Iceland.
If you were asked your pick on a celebrity to dress, who would that be?
Natalia Vodianova. The work she does is remarkable.
Are you more of a wall flower or a bar fly?
I’d say I was a wall flower, at the bar.
More of a poet or a philosopher?
I have a poetic imagination. I often make myself cringe.
Your favourite time of the day?
Dawn 90% of the time.
Twilight (On holiday – the moment your tan looks it’s best. I love that feeling.)
What are your addictions?
The sea. I can’t get enough of it. Salty skin is something I crave in London.