The CP Company and Stone Island designer and Umbro creative consultant reveals football’s tailoring influences to Marino Donati
What sparked your impulse to be a designer? I’ve always loved drawing throughout my life, from growing up in Argentina, living in Spain and then moving to the UK. When I moved to Burnley [in Lancashire] I got into football, and was also selling [menswear brands] CP Company and Stone Island in a shop I was working in. That drew me in and opened a door to the brands. I ended up at Manchester Metropolitan University to do a BA in fashion design.
Your design process has a number of influences, including anatomy and sculpture. How do they inform your work? I design in three dimensions, so I started moulding garments on the body in specific poses. I like incidental design, not making decorative decisions. If the process dictates what the garment looks like then it has integrity. Everything on the garment has to have a reason for being there.
How did you get involved with CP Company and Stone Island? At the Royal College of Art in London I was always referencing Massimo Osti [designer and creator of CP Company and Stone Island]. Stylist Simon Foxton was one of our external tutors. He knew CP Company and Stone Island and told them about my work. At my final show, a couple of people came from Sportswear Company [which owns CP Company and Stone Island]. They then invited me to their offices and I met the chairman Carlo Rivetti.
You redesigned CP Company’s goggle jacket designed for the Mille Miglia car race for the brand’s 20th anniversary. Was that daunting? I’d been working for two seasons with Stone Island and for the third season CP Company wanted to relaunch the goggle jacket. They knew that jacket was why I became a designer. It was daunting, and along with the new England [football team] shirt, it’s the biggest honour and responsibility I’ve had.
What was the idea behind Umbro’s new England football kit, and the Tailored by England concept? The concept behind the England kit was about utilising the rich presence of tailoring in the history of Umbro and in football kits. Before there was a sportswear industry, kits were made by tailors. The design of football kits hadn’t changed for a long time until recent decades. We wanted to use the tailoring heritage as a platform to reinstate a heightened level of performance and of style.
What else have you got planned? I’ll remain a consultant at Umbro and I’ll eventually have a chance to do my own line. I’ve got two graduate collections, When Football Hooligans Become Hindu Gods and The Funeral of New Orleans Funeral - Part One and they are like an ideas archive. For my new collection I want to redevelop those collections to the highest level of production to become iconic pieces.
What was the last item of clothing you bought? A minimal summer mac from Lanvin on Savile Row.
What fashion item do you wish you had designed?
CP Company’s goggle jacket or anything from the Transformable collection that Moreno Ferrari designed for the brand.
Who is your favourite designer? Carol Christian Poell - an incredible artist. I only came across him because Peter Sidell from The Library [London indie] said I reminded him of him.
What is your favourite shop? L’Eclaireur in Paris. There’s just a door with a buzzer and it’s really hard to find. Also Oi Polloi in Manchester. Those guys are incredible.
- Aitor Throup is a designer at casualwear group Sportswear Company and creative consultant at sports brand Umbro