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Mark McNairy

The US menswear designer tells graeme moran he’d be a fool not to show at Pitti Uomo and why he doesn’t follow trends.

You just showed your label Mark McNairy New Amsterdam at Pitti Uomo – how important is this trade show for you?

Important enough to pay the exhibitor fees. Just kidding! If you’re lucky enough to exhibit there then you are immediately positioning yourself alongside some great brands. I only do trade shows that get the right people in and where you’re seen with the best brands. If I can’t get that then I’d rather be chilling at home. Also I would be a fool to pass up the chance to drink Italian wine for a week.

What other trade shows do you exhibit at?

Capsule in Paris, Berlin, New York and Las Vegas, for the same reasons I exhibit at Pitti.

As a designer you are known for mixing traditional menswear with the new and streetwear-inspired – where does this come from?

Don’t fix what ain’t broken. On the other hand, don’t be stuck in the past.

You are probably best known for your shoes – why do you think shoes are so important?

Whoever said you can judge a man by his watch and his shoes was half right.

A lot of your shoes are manufactured in Northampton – why did you decide to do this?

If a place has been making the world’s best shoes for hundreds of years I wouldn’t want mine made anywhere else. The knowledge the locals in Northampton have is the grand accumulation of generations of learning, improvement, education, and expansion of that knowledge.

You’ve collaborated with the likes of Billionaire Boys Club, A Bathing Ape and Topman, among others – do you enjoy working with other people to create something different to your usual work?

Yes. But only with people you like and whose work you respect. It’s good to get out of the box, but never work with morons. Wait, why am I giving out all this advice for free?

Any more collaborations in the pipeline?

Stay tuned.

If you weren’t working in fashion, what would you be doing?

Racing cars, drinking wine, being with my family. You mean like a job? I would probably be a criminal.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I make what I would want to wear, so that means the only shopping I do is for food. And I like hot dogs and sandwiches, so my favourite place to shop is the hot dog and sandwich store.

If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A Hanes white T-shirt and some clean drawers.

What one menswear trend do you wish would disappear?

People blindly following trends and not doing what they want. Don’t tie yourself to a trend.

If you could dress one person (dead or alive), who would it be?

[American rapper] Danny Brown. My wish came true for my spring 13 look book. Or Bruce Springsteen. Maybe for my autumn 13 look book? Call me, Bruce.

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