In the studio with… Kangan Arora
Two images. One on the left shows Kangan Arora's desk in her studio. One on the right shows Kangan Arora standing outside her studio.
Meet the multi-talented designer-maker who juggles her own printing practice with teaching and photography.

Where is your studio?

I have a studio space in Bainbridge Studios in West Norwood that I share with my friend, Jonna Saarinen who I went to Central Saint Martins (CSM) with. The studio used to be a dairy many years ago, now it’s a creative space for artists, illustrators, graphic designers and textile designers with great screen printing facilities – which is what drew me to it!

Two images. One on the left shows art pieces hanging from a bulldog clip. one on the right shows 4 cushions displayed on coloured paper.

Describe your typical day

I’m lucky in that I don’t have a typical day! Alongside running my design studio, I’m an Associate Lecturer at CSM, Short course tutor in the summer and freelance photographer – so it’s always different and there’s lots of juggling involved.

My favourite kinds of days are spent in the studio, designing a new collection or working on a collaboration. I’ll take the bus to the studio, which is a 10 minute journey from home. After coffee and a quick catch up with studio friends, I’ll try some ideas out by exposing screens, printing and overprinting hopefully stumbling upon some happy accidents that I can further develop.

I find it impossible to decide on colours on a computer screen so I mix the pigments and screen-print the design in (too) many colours and finally make a decision. The ones I don’t use become handy little remnant packs that I sell on my website. I look at emails in between when screens are drying or at lunch.

Printing is pretty addictive so often it gets to 7-8pm before I realise that I need to clean up and head home for the day!

What are the key stages of your design and making process?

Designing and making go hand in hand for me. I start with the bones of an idea on paper or on the computer, but it’s only when this is transferred to screen that the magic really happens. Printing is a key stage for me as the designing, developing and finalising all happen then.

Photographing my finished products is also important; images are sent to shops and press so it’s important they are of a high standard.

Two images. One on the left of somebody screen printing. One on the right shows 6 pots of coloured inks.

What is the best thing about your job?

Being my own boss!

Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?

Yes! I need music in the studio. Sometimes I have BBC Radio 6 Music on all day, other days I like to select what I’m listening to. Three songs on my playlist:

Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?

I really admire Chris Holden (who runs Manchester based studio Ajoto) and London-based collective, ASSEMBLE Studio.

Why were you interested in having your products sold at not just a shop?

UAL have been so supportive during my time at CSM and since I graduated that it feels very special being able to sell in the space! It’s superbly curated and located and I can’t wait to see how it grows.