My name is Marilyn and I have been invited to blog about one of our favourite designers ‘Philip Jacobs’ well known for his work with the Kaffe Fassett Collective. Philip lives and works between residences in London and the beautiful Dorset coast. He finds a lot of his inspiration in the natural world around us.

My first blog, after discussion with Philip is about how his own ‘Snow Leopard Designs’ collections came into being.

Once upon a time…..

Joyce Robertson, the then Creative Director of FreeSpirit Fabrics,  asked Kaffe Fassett his opinion as to the  best botanical textile designer in the world . Kaffe’s response was Philip Jacobs.   Joyce asked Philip if he would create a botanical collection for them, as many of their customers had been asking for one.

It took Philip about 6 months to design the collection, which had some lovely floral designs.

Kaffe wanted to avoid confusion around the Kaffe Fassett Collective and said that he did not want it to be under the Philip Jacobs name so Philip thought about several different names including “Lion Brand”, “Tiger Lily Fabrics”, but then settled on Snow Leopard Designs. He designed his own Snow Leopard logo based on a Chinese Ching dynasty rank badge.

Once the first collection was complete, Joyce asked if Philip would create two collections each year for the Snow Leopard range.

These are Philip’s own words as told to me…..

“This greatly pleased me as I was only able to do six designs per year for the KFC, which in no way matched my creative output. Kaffe said to me once, while we were choosing designs for the KFC,  “You have enough designs here to start a whole new company”. I thought: “Yes I know I do and I really want that to happen”.

I so enjoy thinking up the different themes for the Snow Leopard collections and working out which designs will go in each collection. Normally I have about four collections that I am building up at the same time, with others floating around in my head waiting to be made manifest.

Now the Creative Director at FreeSpirit is Debbie Stark who is very supportive of the brand, as is Scott Fortunoff, his father and brother Greg, who are the new owners of FreeSpirit.

Although I`ve had a long, 42 year, career in the textile industry, this current phase is my very favourite bit, and it`s great to see the brand grow and be surrounded by so many willing helpers.”

You can follow Philip and the Snow Leopards as they tramp their way across the patchwork, quilting and sewing world in our dedicated Facebook group. ‘Philip Jacobs – Snow Leopard Designs – Patchwork, Quilting, Sewing’. He will also give advance notice of any new upcoming designs in this group and on his own page @Snow Leopard Designs. You are also most welcome to post your own Snow Leopard creations makes for Philip to admire.   [and we would love to see them in the UKQU Facebook Group too of course]

You will also be able to see Philip’s Jacobs own post – Highlights from 42 years in Textile Design 1976 – 2018, with over 250 photographs and pictures from his lifetimes work

The pictures included in this blog are Philip Jacobs own and were part of the ‘Botanical Collection’ by Snow Leopard Designs.

In subsequent posts Marilyn Merrilees will be talking about the different Snow Leopard collections, Philip’s life and his favourite hobbies. Please watch this space for further revelations.  If you have any questions then post them below this blog and she will do her best to answer .. perhaps Philip himself may drop in from time to time.


  1. Marilyn Merrilees

    The credit for this article should really go to Philip Jacobs as he forwarded me the information and also gave me free access to his photographs. All I did was put it in the appropriate format for posting on UKQU. More to come though and we do have some interesting ideas and posts coming up. As they say Watch This Space.