February 2023
Photography: Genevieve Lutkin, Matthew Donaldson

In a series of four features, Faye Toogood explores the guiding principles of the toogood studio: Drawing, Material, Sculpture and Landscape.

"When Phaidon approached me to do a book it was really important to me that the final object would feel like it came out of the studio, and that it would have a kind of rawness about it.

The front cover is made out of greyboard, the same material as our studio archive boxes. The edges of the paper are hand-torn. I made the painting on the front really quickly and hand-wrote the title. The spine is left with exposed binding. I worked on it hoping that people would come away from touching, reading, looking at the book with a better sense of who we are, and what we're about, rather than just a portfolio of what projects we've done."

Archive boxes, Toogood Collection 009, and Mulberry Flagship Store London, photography Matthew Donaldson

The greyboard archive boxes were the starting point. I'm an obsessive collector and have hundreds of boxes that we've kept for every single project or collection. They are filled with all of the workings, maquettes and drawings. It was really nice to bring these boxes out again, like going through family photograph albums.

We have beautiful official photography of our projects and collections, but there's also a much more hands-on collection of sketches and snapshots. Pictures that people won't have seen that were part of the process, behind the scenes and making of. I love seeing the ephemera next to the final pieces. I think that's why I'm able to look at the book and why I'm proud of it - it does feel more like an insight into the studio and our ways of working.


I've never seen myself as a draftsperson. There are some designers that I know who publish their drawings but that's never been me. It's often a means to an end. Drawing is done as a sketch, in a rough notebook or on a piece of printer paper. It's often the fastest most direct way I have to communicate something to a maker or an artist or manufacturer. It's funny, considering how careful I am to collect and archive most parts of the creative process, that the sketches can often be found scrunched up in the bin, or on the back of an envelope. I put no worth in them whatsoever.

In the book, most of the drawings are biro, or made with a big black crayon or a Sharpie. They're never meant to be seen beyond the person I am directly collaborating with. I can be ambivalent about drawing and painting, I need it, and it is part of the work, but it's something that I am trying to resist, because I just like getting stuck into 3D as quickly as possible. Having said that, there is often a painterly nature to what I make and there is a lot of artwork that becomes part of the collections - rug designs or clothing prints based on paintings and drawings.

When we created Agender for Selfridges (2015) I worked on a series of sketches and watercolours that were linked to large abstract sculptures. It felt inappropriate to put paintings and drawings in a retail space. So that's why I did it.

To mark its first experiment in gender-neutral retail space, Selfridges invited Toogood to create a display for fashion, beauty and lifestyle products devoid of the usual indicators for gendered consumption.

I'd love to be able to draw properly. It's something I admire so much in other people. I have always described myself as a tinker because I don't really feel like a master of anything. When it comes to drawing, you can't hide anywhere, It's really exposing." - Faye Toogood

Drawing, Comme des Garçons Blackpepper, Selfridges, London, 2016

"Faye's sketches demonstrate a quality of line that appears intuitive - yet almost hesitant and in which her initial ideas converge to create striking designs that become fully formed, illustrating how the act of drawing is instrumental to her design development. This idea is reinforced by pencil sketches for the display forms for Comme des Garcons' Blackpepper scent or the ink drawings of the coat styles for Faye and Erica's first clothing collection, 001."

- Alistair O'Neill, editor of Drawing, Material, Sculpture, Landscape.

Ink drawings: The Chemist coat; The Mechanic jacket; The Oilrigger coat; The Beekeeper coat, clothing collection 001, 2013