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'I'm extremely proud': Kit Neale on his Dune collaboration collection

Ahead of its arrival in stores, Drapers talks to the London-based designer about his autumn 17 footwear and accessories collaboration with high street retailer Dune, the pros of partnership and his favourite designs.

Why collaborate with Dune?

I had never created a footwear range before and had been looking for an appropriate partner. The more I learnt about Dune and its reason for wanting to collaborate, the more I was confident it would be successful working together.

The team at Dune take a lot of pride and time to develop their products. They deliver a high-quality product at a great, attainable price. This aligns with what I seek to do with contemporary designed products.

You have collaborated with a range of other names already. Why collaborate?

I approach each collaboration for different reasons. Generally there is always something to learn from a project. You gain an understanding of manufacturing different types of products, you learn about a brand’s history and business from the inside and you can explore different markets.

It can be for selfish reasons for me, too. It’s an opportunity for me to open my eyes and step out of my comfort zone. Bigger brands have the ability to reach out to a wider audience and to make a real impact.

How involved were you in the Dune design process?

I worked very closely with Dune throughout the whole process from concept, design and development to overseeing the creative direction for the media package and visual communications.

The team at Dune have done a lot of the hard graft – pulling materials I’ve requested and liaising with the suppliers to find solutions for my ideas.

It’s not a case of designing something and brushing it aside. I think it’s in my interest, as much as it is for the brand, to continuously challenge each other with suggestions and opinions, and to deliver the best possible outcome.

What are you favourite items?

I’m extremely proud of the whole collection and am hoping to nab an item in each style. I particularly love the printed wash bag and passport holder – a great companion for my upcoming travels.

I think there is a [different] shoe [in the range] for different occasions. For me, I’ll be wearing the slip-ons for weekend pub trips. The lace-up trainers feel quite elaborate and special – a bit more lavish, but still informal. The more formal styles are then reserved for more formal occasions. I personally rarely wear [smart] shoes, but like to own them.

Tell us about the prints and patterns.

The prints explore an array of colours and bold graphics seen on food packaging in Asian supermarkets. I’m obsessed with packaging, particularly those in Asian cuisines, which are superbly vivid and playful.

In the fall-out from Brexit, I felt acutely aware of how fortunate we are to live in a cosmopolitan society that positively contributes to the richness of our surroundings. There is an amazing variety of cuisines on every high street in Britain and I wanted to celebrate this in some way.

The styles in the range pick up on the uniforms of fishermen working at Billingsgate – the rubber feel for the slip-on trainer is a direct nod to a wellington boot and the formal boot has a strong workman-boot feel to the design.

The travel feel to the collection – encompassing the travel wallets, luggage pieces and wash bags – again reinforces how fortunate we are to travel and migrate almost anywhere now for work or for play.


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