Featured Designer: Zoe Watson

Zoe Watson on Pattern ObserverLike most of us, Zoe Watson never imagined that she would find herself “designing and experimenting for a living.” And likewise, many of us can agree with Zoe when she says, “I pinch myself that this is how I get to spend my time.”

After studying Politics at University College London and London School of Economics, Zoe decided to change directions a bit and enrolled in a one year accredited program in Web and Graphic Design. Soon after, she began building websites for people, while further honing in on her newfound interest. She dedicated hundreds of hours to watching Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials while her son was napping. This new and consuming passion had come over her and she adds, “I also started taking every Art and Sewing Class I could find in my local area, from block printing to Life Drawing to Quilt Making.”

After a couple of years of this intensive course of study, Zoe decided to make another transition in her career. She switched from Web and Graphic Design into pattern design where she is now creating the beautiful patterns that you see featured here.

Zoe designed these patterns with the women’s activewear consumer in mind. According to Zoe, “Women’s activewear is one of the most exciting design areas. The opportunities for abstraction and play within the designs are endless. I like to add in some glitch and often things which start out as a floral watercolour motif can end up looking anything but traditional. I find the freedom to experiment in this arena always leads to some pleasant surprises.”

Her beautiful work looks complicated and Zoe makes it all sound easy, but like so many of us, she also struggled with following trends for a period of time.

zoe-watson-on-pattern-observer_glitchZoe shared how she got over that challenging trend barrier with us: “I’ve been developing prints from my own inspiration for a while now but the Activewear Workshop helped so much in solidifying the skills of designing to trends. As a result I feel so much more confident in using and interpreting WGSN reports. As an emerging Textile Designer this was a breakthrough in trusting my own skills. Since this summer my portfolio has taken on much more of an Activewear focus as I continue to build on the foundation of the course. I really recommend it to anyone with an interest in designing for this industry.”

When I asked Zoe about her inspiration and what she enjoyed most about her design work for the activewear market, she said: “I tend to predominantly associate Activewear with Photoshop patterns so I also wanted to round things out with some PSD patterns too. “All my patterns started off the computer as broad brush strokes painted in acrylics.”

You can find out more about Zoe Watson’s work on Facebook.

Are you interested in learning more about the women’s activewear market? I hope you’ll join me for a free live training event where we’ll be discussing the women’s activewear market and what you can do to begin designing in this inspiring market. Grab your spot here.





  1. Thank you for posting. Very informative article. I desire to learn more to start my own business in designing textiles for activewear.

  2. Love to hear your story Zoe. I agree with you the freedom of experimenting is live changing 🙂 I think I am on my best while experimenting. I embrace mixmedia and taking courses where ever you can? love it, there are so many interesting techniques, you simple have to know all about it 🙂

    Hope you are doingwell in the activewear market, I agree your work is perfect for it 🙂

  3. Thank you Michelle! Yes Esther it’s brilliant how every art class you study is never wasted at some point that all seem to come in useful and the digital and non-digital art skills converge!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Stories
New Collection: IDAD