The Inventory: Giles Deacon

Giles Deacon, 42, has won many awards, including British Designer of the Year. His clients include Kate Moss, Kristen Scott Thomas and Gwyneth Paltrow.

What was your earliest ambition?

Media studies, or marine biology – I liked the idea of exotic sea creatures. But I was really terrible at A-levels, I was one of those teen boys who couldn’t concentrate on anything academic. Plus I messed around a bit.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

I went to public and state schools – not at the same time. I did my art foundation course at Harrogate College of Arts. This brilliant tutor suggested I apply to Central Saint Martins. I adored it.

Who is your mentor?

I don’t really have a mentor. My longest collaborative working relationship is with Katie Grand, the editor-in-chief of Love magazine. Katie’s an inspiration and a sounding block. She’s got such great taste.

How physically fit are you?

Pretty fit. I could probably do with losing a couple of pounds, but I swim every week, go to the gym and I’ve cycled everywhere since I moved to London in 1989.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

I don’t believe in a recipe for success. You have to work hard, you may not always get it right, you have to bounce back from situations and you have to be really focused and determined. It’s important to have fun as well. Work shouldn’t be a torture.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

I haven’t, no. Where do you do them? I think they’d be a bit scary.

How politically committed are you?

I’m much more into things I like to get involved in on a work and personal level, including charities. A strong one is Fine Cell Work, which encourages prisoners to use sewing skills. And the Elton John Aids Foundation. Homelessness, Aids awareness and encouraging creativity – those are my big things.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

I do, immensely, because I fly an awful lot, which is why I cycle in London. I don’t own a car.

Do you have more than one home?


What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

The knowledge that I’ll always have the fantastic group of friends I have and that they’ll all be healthy as long as possible.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Time. It goes far too quickly.

In what place are you happiest?

The company of really close friends.

What ambitions do you still have?

To learn how to hang-glide. Floating over the South Downs would be nice.

What drives you on?

I don’t have a point-to-prove kind of drive. I just like fun ideas, working with interesting people and getting things done.

Earliest ambition: marine biology

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

The British Designer of the Year award – a culmination of my team’s work. People often cite the team thing, but it really is so important. It was a real pinch-yourself moment.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

Not swimming the Channel yet. I’d be good at that.

If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?

He’d probably think he’d done all right so far.

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

It would be business as usual.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

I do. I believe in all forms of life. There’s something out there. You’d be crazy not to believe in it.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?


Giles Deacon has partnered with Sky Ride to design a waterproof and reflective cycling bag for women.

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