The menswear designer tells graeme moran how his London Collections: Men show went and what inspires him.
You just showed your spring 13 collection at the first London Collections: Men – how did it go? What did you do afterwards to celebrate?
I’m the happiest I’ve been about a collection, and incredibly happy with the styling, hair and make-up. The whole team really gelled on this collection; it’s nice when everyone just gets it! I’m very happy. Afterwards I treated my team to a few beers and a Vietnamese meal to say thank you for all of their hard work and effort. That’s become a tradition.
What were the inspirations behind your spring 13 collection?
I started by investigating building sites, in particular health and safety collateral; looking at everyday materials and thinking philosophically ‘what is real luxury’?
I was also intrigued by old CCTV imagery of brutalist architecture around London.
How do you go about designing your collection?
I always start with a sentence, something to sum up a mood or theme. I spend the initial phase researching this and start to create imagery and sketches around it.
How do you balance creativity with commerciality?
This is something that is more relevant to me and my brand every season. Building relationships with buyers and my stockists provides invaluable advice on what consumers want and how to offer it to them while retaining my aesthetic.
You were awarded Newgen Men sponsorship this season – how has this helped?
Their support and infrastructure is invaluable for new designers and businesses. They offer industry knowledge which has helped me and my brand to add structure, logistical support and financial assistance.
What can the industry do to better support new designers?
Universities are providing guidance and advice on starting a business and the information needed to build your label; this will inevitably provide longer-term growth. Also, added investment in the manufacturing industry will help smaller companies to produce more within the UK.
You collaborated with Oliver Sweeney to create a range of shoes for autumn 12 and spring 13 – how did this come about?
I really wanted to collaborate with a contemporary British footwear brand for autumn 12. Having approached them with the concept they really got behind it and the collection will be available from August.
If you could be stocked anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I see my collection as something of interest to a global customer; I like stores that provide an experience for consumers and where I would shop myself, such as LNCC and Dover Street in London and Beams in Tokyo; I’m already stocked in IT in Hong Kong.
Who are your fashion heroes?
Lou Dalton is smashing it, and I love Martine Rose’s edginess and H by Harris bags.