British designer Simon Spurr is bringing fresh perspectives to a US denim brand.
Denim brand Seven for All Mankind celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020. Founded and based in LA, the brand also has headquarters in Switzerland. Globally, it has more than 2,000 stockists, including John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser in the UK.
In January 2020, the brand announced the appointment of British-born designer Simon Spurr as its new creative director. Here he talks LA lifestyle, Italian coffee and denim design heritage.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
When I lived in New York, I worked out religiously. Since moving to Los Angeles [for this role] and having a longer commute to work, I now have a much faster routine of showering, meditating and grabbing coffee at one of my local spots in Los Feliz, in LA.
What was your first job?
I was the associate designer of Nautica Competition jersey knit tops.
Remember all those cool colour-blocked fleeces and logo T’s in the mid-to-late 1990s? I had a small hand in some of that.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
Seven for All Mankind was the pioneer of premium denim in the 2000s, and today, with the expansion of ready-to-wear, is slowly becoming a “collection-driven” denim brand.
What’s your coffee (or tea) order?
It depends where I am, and what time of day it is. If I’m in the US, my first coffee is typically an oat milk cappuccino, but if I’m in Europe (particularly Italy), where I’ve spent much of my career, it’s normally a very short single espresso.
Where are your favourite place to shop?
I’ve always been heavily into vintage clothing to complement what I’ve made for myself over the years. Grailed and Heroine are my favourite on-line places to shop thanks to their convenience and also the curated nature of product by like-minded people.
Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?
A leopard print wool topcopat from Eidos [the younger line of Italian luxury menswear brand Isaia].
Emails or phone calls?
Phone call, as long as I have my headphones. I’m super sensitive to the radiation by my head and still use old-school cabled headphones.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Stay true to yourself and keep believing in yourself.
What would be your ideal office/meeting space?
An extension of my home. I’m very connected to interiors and furniture, and have been lucky enough that my work and my passions are often the same.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
The actual design. Conceptualising a garment, either as an individual or part of a team experience and visualising how the collection all comes together is intoxicating.
What has been your proudest moment since you joined the brand?
Working with my talented design teams, elevating the ready to wear, opening up new men’s distribution channels and working on the women’s side of the business.
What’s the last book you read?
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.
Crete last August. This was the first time I’d taken a two-week holiday since 2001. The Greeks, like the Italians, really understand quality of life: slow pace, quality food, health and family. It was a much-needed change of pace from my surprisingly frenetic pace in LA.
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
Anyone doing it differently, or anyone that is doing it their way at all costs. Hedi Slimane is one example.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?
Individuality and sustainability. Brands become recognised for standing up, and standing out: for being different and staying true to it.
The denim world is saturated with similar product, so how do we innovate, create something new with conviction but also do it in a sustainable way?
Integrating environmentally friendly processes to the company and product has been a massive push within the brand for the past 12 months.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Relax a little more. Being passionate about something is great, but alignment brings more than “hard work”.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
Creatively, my girlfriend, the artist Blanda, who’s one of the most talented people I know.
Professionally, I have so much respect for my bosses, including the current [Francesco Toninato] and previous CEOs at Seven For All Mankind.
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
My weekends are normally used to catch up on all my personal errands.
Restoring my 1974 Toyota FJ-40, going to the beach, working on my personal brand, dinners with friends and working out.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
Growth, both professionally and personally. As the brand celebrates its 20-year anniversary, I hope to reinvigorate people’s perception around the brand.
On a personal level, I’d like to see and enjoy a little more of what California has to offer, buy a house and start a family.