It was a trip to Aoyama in Tokyo that inspired the original balloon pant design, Wakeman spotted a kid on the street and followed him for a while to study his trouser shape - that evening she sketched at her hotel, and the balloon pant was born. This season, the pant has been split into two very different fabrications - a heavy 12oz Japanese selvedge denim and a fluid cotton linen. Wakeman loves them both equally, and so do we.
We visited Wakeman at her bright and minimal East London studio to talk interiors, integrity, switching off and the importance of trousers. The unique work space is housed inside a Grade II listed building on a charming avenue that leads directly to Arnold Circus bandstand. Original pipework and bricks are softened with parquet flooring, white washed walls and calming greenery.
When selecting an outfit in the morning, you mentioned you often pick your trousers before anything else - can you tell us about your morning routine?
The trousers come first even before socks and underwear. Then it's whatever is pressed - generally Studio Nichsolson pants with a man’s shirt or a knit. Always my Studio Nicholson Moonstar plimsolls.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
Very easily, I finish work at 6pm every day and have a good ability to switch off. I travel a lot for work but have a rule that I must do something or see something on a work trip that is just for me. It can be a walk on the beach in Oporto, a visit to an Onsen in Japan or a museum in Paris.
What do you do to relax?
I do little things all day at work to break up the inevitable stresses - I dance a lot in the studio. I'm sure the team are pretty sick of my moves.
Your studio and home are beautiful light-filled and minimalist spaces with traditional architectural structures - how important is your work and living space?
Enormously important, I value space and light over things. I live pretty minimally - clutter makes me feel nauseous and anxious.
What brings you joy at work?
Selecting fabric is always a joyful, it’s where each collection starts.
Who is your hero and what do you most admire in them?
Anyone who sticks to their guns and does what they say they are going to do. I value integrity in people more than anything.
What do you most love doing that you could do all day?
Sketching, I never have enough time to sketch.
What is your definition of success?
Maya Angelou said it best “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” I’ve also realised as my business grows, that success is about the people you work with and how fulfilled and happy your team is.
How do you you want a woman to feel when she’s wearing a pair of your trousers?
I am compelled to walk tall in my pants, and the looser the pant is the more freedom I feel. I hope my customers feel the same.
photography: Kasia Bobula