LiveStudio: Charles Jeffrey
Charles Jeffrey took up residence at SHOWstudio to craft a Merino wool garment live on camera, all while discussing his working process and answering viewer questions.
Charles Jeffrey took up residence at SHOWstudio to craft a Merino wool garment live on camera, all while discussing his working process and answering viewer questions.
21 APR 2016. 15:40
Q. I love the sense of community in your working process, what is your relationship to digital media?
A. It’s always been a part of my life because of Myspace and stuff you find yourself online, it’s an online persona. I was called Charlie Boy on Myspace. That really helps in order to shape you finding a new version of yourself. Experimenting fashion on yourself, the image, the fashion image is also quite linked into Myspace. That’s also a way of communicating yourself and marketing yourself. We did marketing on my BA at Saint Martins that was another booster for digital, you had styling projects and a website project. For my collections I always make sure that I have my looks photographed flat and they’re hyper-styled in the show. If it is super styled in the show then I want to make sure that we filter it down so people can actually read the clothes as they are, the amount of workmanship that’s gone into it, I think you can only really get that if you go up close, If you’re feeling it with your hands. You can put it on Instagram to showcase that in the fashion sense. In terms of the club night we rely purely on Facebook and utilise the barriers of Facebook in order to do what we want to do. Last time we did an editorial shoot and we put that just on Facebook. We printed it out and put it on the posters, but that was strictly just for Facebook. We were treating Facebook like it was i-D magazine and everyone was credited, it would say what that person was wearing. Working with my friend Gareth Wrighton, he’s a pioneer of a new wave of subverted digital imagery. He’s got a really exciting project coming up… For the last LOVERLY campaign we did a 3D fabrics that you could kind of walk into and you can turn right or turn left and there was the photoshoot that we’ve done, there was a 360 of moving images, just putting that on Facebook. I really want to open the element of online sale to sell the posters which was the foundation of it. We always make sure that we have these pictures printed and on the walls. We always make sure we have a whole archive of them. We’ve still got them all. Some of them are battered and bruised form nights out but there’s something really nice out that. That could be a part of it too.
21 APR 2016. 15:38
Q. Are you enjoying working with Merino wool? What do you like about this fibre in particular?
A. The thing about Merino, you can work with it and you can translate it in so many different ways. When we went to Bower and Roebuck and saw all the different qualities and the treatments you can then put onto wool, it’s just amazing. We’ve also got this stuff that’s like a silk, so we will hopefully be using that. Also going to the woollen mill, Laxtons, seeing how it was made, seeing the woollen yarns and seeing that you can twist it. There’s so much workmanship that goes into it, especially the Merino wool. The one that we’ve used for the project almost feels like a crepe. It feels like a crepe and it operates like a crepe but it’s not crepe. It has this bounce to it. The bag, the way that the oyster curves and the ruffles form, that fabric lends really lends itself to that. I’ve never been to a mill before. Thank you to Woolmark for that.
21 APR 2016. 15:32
Q. Who would you love to be joining yourself and Grace Wales Bonner at the next MAN show in June?
A. Well, Grace isn’t doing the MAN show anymore, she’s NEWGEN now from what I gather. Our message is quite strong and broad themed. The contrast between Grace, Rory and I, I think that’s what made that show so special. Fashion East approached me on my MA and I was a little hesitant because I don’t know what I want to do. I kind of wanted to just continue with the club night and go forward with that. But they were so helpful in terms of making me feel comfortable, the fact that they allowed me to do a presentation like I did, really gave me the validation that I needed to be a designer. When I left the MA I couldn’t decide if I actually wanted to be a designer or do illustration or just special projects within the fashion realm. Going into MAN and having the opportunity and just having it given to you, the catwalks, the showroom, the guidance, the finances, it really gave me that validation. I think there’s a lot of people who have amazing voices but they never get the platform to say what they want to say. They care about you, they care about your work, you as a person. They’re always looking out for you.
21 APR 2016. 15:32
Q. Three favourite young menswear designers in London at the moment and why
A. Obviously Grace because we get a lot of support from her and the illustration coverage. I’m really proud of what she does, she has such a… It’s like a shining light really, a spotlight on fashion. I really like Marta, I love her aesthetic, I think she’s got a really strong message to say, especially in womenswear, there’s not really anyone else doing what she’s doing. I really like Martine Rose. She is so so good. I love Martine I think she’s got a really honest opinion. It’s just really her and honest. I have a lot of respect for Kiko, he has transported his work into this kind of award show because his BA collection was knitwear and he’s put it into a new context. His MA collection was a really nice point of view.
21 APR 2016. 15:31
Q. Where is your playlist from? it's flawless!
A. I don’t know, I’ve got a load of playlists on Spotify. That’s how I DJ. I’ve got all of the LOVERBOY playlists archived. There’s playlists from when I did the SHOWstudio Halloween party, then also, I’m really into the Grand Theft Auto radio, I really like the adverts in it.
21 APR 2016. 15:23
Q. Can you tell us more about the team helping you today, who is doing what
A. Where shall we start? The fabulous Sybil! Sybil is our seamstress eleganza, she worked for many fabulous people. She’s worked for Mr.Pearl, Mugler, McQueen, everybody! We have Naomi, the most amazing pattern cutter, the fact that we’ve even been able to make this bag amazes me, when it first started out it was justice weird cardboard structure that I put together, thanks to Matthew who is also another star in translating that for me. With Naomi, there’s nothing I can’t give her that she says ‘Oh no we can’t do it,’ there’s always an attempt. I surround myself with people who are keen to try things, no one says no, they always try. For this particular project we have Tracey as well, she helped me on my MA she was kind of the calming mother figure as it were when I was really stressing out. The same thing with her is that I love just having a this dialogue. She’s come up with an amazing method with this felting and it’s amazing to be able to share that. I’m very grateful. We have Jack who is my best friend and I’ve known him for about 4 or 5 years. The thing I like about Jack is he really challenges me to see something in a different way. Quite important I think. He did Set Design for film at Central Saint Martins which I think is really important because it informs our work. We also have Kevin today who is the main act. We’ve been working together nw for about a year and I’m really excited to see what he does with this. He’s been doing this cabaret act, you can see the confidence in it, I think that’s really nice. Ted’s still got that rawness which I really like as well. I have Connor my PA and Christina as well and they’re my go to people. Harry is Jack brother and Sophie who’s my PR.
21 APR 2016. 15:23
Q. I've heard through Lyall at VF Dalston that my dad, Anthony Newell’s Pure Imagination Is going to be used as part of your performance today. It’s so great that the song has resonance and meaning for a whole new generation of creatives, he would have been thrilled to be part of the continuing conversation about the possibilities of making changes for the better in this beautiful world of ours. Why did you choose Pure Imagination?
A. It came into our lives really randomly and we were playing it as we were cleaning up one of my co-workers put it on and was like 'do you remember this?' It brought up a lot of emotion and that kind of tingly feeling and it felt quite similar to what we were doing with the show at the time. It’s just that innocence in looking at the world it makes you look at the world in a pure way. If you want to do anything all you have to do is view it. It’s that positive thinking that I really like. You can get locked into pattens of thinking and I think that song reminds you to not do that.
21 APR 2016. 15:21
Q. Are you gonna use some of the techniques and fabrics in this in your next collection?
A. I guess it’s fairly obvious that this will probably feed into something. But you know any work like this is going to feed as primary research. You’re going to be affected by projects such as this. We have a very strong direction in which we’re going which is different to this but there’s definitely going to be cross overs. Just talking about the fabric research, wool is such a versatile fabric it’s going to be weird not to work with it from now on. This has been a really particularly interesting project for me in terms of LOVERBOY as a brand. It’s this raw performance and that’s a really interesting thing for you to do as well as doing a collection I think it keeps you open minded.
21 APR 2016. 12:53
Q. Judith Watt: To be a great fashion designer, as Louise Wilson said, it’s never been about money; it’s never been about that. Unfortunately the culture you are in now is it’s all about money. That’s what it is and I find it fascinating what you’re doing because so many of my students go to Vogue Fabrics as you know. How old are you? 25? You’re just a baby; to me you’re a baby.
A. I think it’s really important to speak to people like yourself and engage with what you have to say and use that as a way to move forward and I think that’s something that….that’s one of the reasons why I brought you here to speak to you and hear what you have to say and see how it relates to what we do.
21 APR 2016. 12:52
Q. Judith Watt: Is there enough pressure on students to know about the history of fashion? I don’t think there’s enough pressure. There shouldn’t be pressure but there should be excitement and there should be love and excitement and titillation and exhilaration and discovery.
A. This brings me back to a point I’ve made earlier about school fees and how everyone is so terrified because they have such high expectations of what they have to achieve and the time that they have and the money that they’re spending, that I feel that the idea of living in London puts so much pressure on students to be and achieve so highly that they don’t actually have any need for stuff. When CSM was back in its heyday in the 80s, there were people who conducted a lot of research and looked at history and used that as a reference point, do you think that was a different time because there were grants for people to do that, to give that freedom and be calmer and not have the huge expectations?
21 APR 2016. 12:42
Q. Judith Watt: What interests you specifically about Louis XIV and Versailles?
A. I think his vision, his unhinged vision.
21 APR 2016. 12:40
Q. Judith Watt: I love the history of dress and I’m endlessly fascinated by it but I also think it’s quite strange that so many designers now feel that they need to know about it. It shouldn’t be about needing to know about it, it should be about wanting to know about it. Is it part of your development as a person or part of your development as a designer?
A. Well I think there are different aspects of it. I feel like if I gained more information about history. I think in a way that would be a method for me to change things and it could inform how Kevin performed and how he touched the set and touch things and be in sync with that. I think if I understood that before, then that would be something I could do. I’ve been finding it really interesting as well. I’ve been really interested in Louis XIV, Versailles. I never looked at it before but Jack and I were just watching Youtube documentaries about how they were so outrageous and so opulent. I think there was something about that which I was really interested in and I constantly wanted to know more about the Sun King and what he was doing and that kind of vibe.
21 APR 2016. 12:32
Q. Judith Watt: Why do you feel you need to use parallels with your past?
A. Don’t know. Maybe it’s something I felt like I needed to do. Maybe it’s pressures from other students who are doing that. At Saint Martins I sometimes felt like I needed that cultural capital and I feel like when you read reviews or see other designers who really understand their cultural capital, you see those aspects in their clothes and their collections. It seems like they are telling a story and know what they are talking about. Sometimes I have that doubt in myself but all designers have that and I think they all have parts of their work that they really want to improve and what they want to gain. Personally, when I want to understand or I become obsessed with something, when I start learning about it or there’s aspects of it which are easily available, I don’t necessarily have to do a lot of reading. Someone is telling me about it then I’m like: 'Oh my God, we can use it like this' and it gives me energy, another kind of energy which is also on top of the world I am working in. So I think it would be important for me to find things and talk with people and meet with people who can help me with that.
21 APR 2016. 12:22
Q. Judith Watt: Why is it so important for you to feel that you have to educate yourself? It’s a kind of constant refrain with you? What is that about?
A. I feel like I want to have respect for what’s happened in the past and I feel like it would inform my work more and I feel that sometimes I want to tell more of a story that’s part of my own but then using parallels with other cultures.
21 APR 2016. 12:21
Q. Judith Watt: How long do you think designers last? How are you seeing the future?
A. Yesterday, someone asked that question and I said, to feel like I’ve done something successful I’d say it's about 10 years, if I’ve accomplished 10 years then I’d see that as successful. I understand that people have a scope of vision but this would be just for LOVERBOY. I do understand that there are a lot of aspects that I really want to pioneer and go forward with which do have a shelf life and I feel that is purely because of the energy that the people that I work with and I have right now and with this kind of energy and rawness and this unhinged, uneducated kind of thing, I would then like to challenge myself with...well I wouldn’t say challenge myself but I’d probably become more educated and more cultured the more I’m doing, the more work I’m doing, then I want to break off and do something in a new kind of language.
20 APR 2016. 17:57
Q. What are you hoping to achieve tomorrow?
A. We still have quite a bit to do, tomorrow a lot of the focus is on the set. Tomorrow we’re making a theatre space… I won’t say too much. In terms of the garments, we’re nearly there with the pack and we’ve got the bodysuit and the gloves. Then I’ll be doing some sort of painting either on skin or on tights. There’s a lot to do, we might have to do a bit of homework…
20 APR 2016. 17:27
Q. If you could design an outfit for any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
A. I’d say Harvey Milk. He was a pioneer for gay rights and I’d love to celebrate him in someway. Or Freddie Mercury…
20 APR 2016. 17:26
Q. How do you make sure you don't become just another CSM graduate and instead can go beyond that and have a successful brand/label? Main advice to students thinking about setting up their own brand? Any advice for joining London fashion week? Describe your experience studying with Louise Wilson and what do you think about the current MA pathway leader?
A. Ok. So, I am really really proud to be from Saint Martins. Obviously it has churned out a lot of designers as well as students. I think we’re coming from it at a different angle now. We’re more a collective rather than individuals. I chose not to have my name just for the label it had to be Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY because yes, it is me directing a lot of stuff, but really I want it to be a place where people can come and contribute and it’s a think tank and we all bounce off of each other and eventually it could just turn into LOVERBOY. Louise was fantastic. Obviously she was terrifying and she expected an enormous amount for you, but also subverted that work you gave her and just challenged you as a person. At the same time, she had such a love for the subject and really explored you to have a love for the subject. I got on with her really well on a personal level. I was the lunchbox and there was a rumour that if you were the lunch boy it was a good sign. I remember once she said ‘You have to be as thin as Charles in order to get into this office. I’ve got a cardboard cut out of Charles and if you can’t got through it then you’re not allowed to have a tutorial.’ Louise passing was so crazy. Massive props to CSM for how they dealt with it because within the next weekend we were back working. We all felt that was the right thing to do. Fabio, I have so so much respect for because not only did he give me confidence in my work again, something I feel Louise would have done after the first semester, he gave me a lot of time and was really patient with me. I would be so nervous and all over the place. The team as well, they’re such a great family. The course, if you work had and really listen to what they say it’s fantastic.
20 APR 2016. 17:24
Q. What skill have you learnt by studying and working in fashion that you never thought you would use?
A. I guess communicating with people. Being a people person, I was always quite chatty but I guess before I was quite nervous. Maybe I’m not necessarily good at sewing or pattern cutting or many things but I’m good at working with people. It works to my personality. I was a bit nervous before this particular project because I was a bit nervous about how I would come across. There’s a lot of designers who maybe are a bit more intellectual in themselves, I have a lot of respect for designers like that. I’m not that and that’s fine. I have skills that work and allow things to happen. I try. I’m not a very well read person because I find it hard to read for very long periods of time. I’m interested in a lot of things.
20 APR 2016. 17:15
Q. What does the colour blue symbolise in your work?
A. I don’t know why I gravitate to it so much I guess it’s just a colour I really like. Symbolically it suppresses your appetite. Very fashion. Yeah, for my BA I got really into primary colours, I guess it was the amount of blue I had in my pencil box, it just went from there. But now it sort of symbolises LOVERBOY. That LOVERBOY blue. It’s what I paint my face with and it has kind of naturally clung to me. It was based upon the drawings I had been doing and I decided to render the faces, those little faces I do. I guess that could be quite a nice story to tell, using blue as a masculine colour. Subverting it in lots of different ways.
20 APR 2016. 16:41
Q. Princess Julia: Are there any people from the past that you’ve subconsciously or consciously referenced?
A. I love Westwood. I love all aspects of Westwood. We didn’t have any research with Westwood. All the items we put on the catwalk were based on photos that Jack and I took of each other. Obviously we twisted and changed… But there was actually no research, it was just pictures of people from LOVERBOY, pictures of Jack.
20 APR 2016. 16:41
Q. Princess Julia: Accessories and shoes, do they get produced?
A. It’s really expensive so how we’re treating it now is a piece of art work. I think for us, what we would like to continue doing is keeping a sense of artwork and pieces completely ingrained in what we do. The bags are bits of art work. They are these individual things that maybe aren’t artwork but that’s the point of it. I think fashion needs that, it needs to slow down a bit and be one thing for a long time. People can’t be all these different things all the time and expect to be sane. It’s too much.
20 APR 2016. 16:39
Q. Princess Julia: Do you think it’s about finding your own personal style rather than trends?
A. Yeah. When you see somebody wearing a piece that you can recognise from a catwalk show and they are wearing it with something else that’s great. I would like people to wear LOVERBOY like that.
20 APR 2016. 16:38
Q. Princess Julia: What about the more mature lady or man?
A. The fact that it’s traditional and it’s a take on a traditional thing, it does fit that category. Our process is very much about trying on the clothes beforehand and Jack always tries on stuff. I always make sure If I put it on and I don’t like it, I wouldn’t wear it. Half the time I get told off because I keep wearing the collection after it goes. Hopefully it’s now safely in a store room. I keep wearing it and I’ve got make-up stains… I have worn a lot of my stuff to death. Thinking about different age groups, we went to a talk about gentrification and it was at Vogue Fabrics and it was a panel discussion. After showing some films I put the point across that I feel like a lot of people in queer culture they only communicate with people from like 18-30. They all communicate now in popular media, bougi couples that are living this cis lifestyle. There’s no pioneers in fashion or media that communicate the queer culture in the older age group. I think a lot of the time people just associate it with drug abuse and death, AIDS things like that. People still see that side of things. I think we’re a lot more open minded now as a generation but I think there’s a reason why there’s maybe not as many pioneers.
20 APR 2016. 16:37
Q. Princess Julia: Sometimes with the catwalk show you can’t actually see the detail because you’re quite far away from the clothes. Is that an aspect that you might change? A salon show?
A. The thing about the runway we’re looking at now is the performative aspect of it, there’s nothing that gives you goosebumps more than the catwalk show. There’s something about it being so intense and so quick which I really like but going back to your point about the details being lost, what we’ve done in a marketing way is that we’ve made sure the clothes have been photographed clearly and as flats as well. I’ve communicated the clothes in a way that’s readable other than it being hyper styled. So, all the photography that we’ve done, we have all the backstage access but we also have, a really good friend of mine Alex Perch, who is a fantastic photographer, is really really good at photographing clothes as flats in a retail sense so that you can really see every aspect of it. With our drunk tailoring we had dribbling buttons that were all beautifully done and finished, that were kind of falling of and all of the linings had my illustrations hidden inside them and I made sure that they were communicated and photographed as flats. I love doing that, it’s another collaboration with a friend. The context was a lot more ‘retailable’. We had them styled in way’s that people could approach them. Just the jumpers with the straight trousers, just in ways that you could see somebody wanting to walk down the street in.
20 APR 2016. 16:36
Q. Princess Julia: How important is performance to you?
A. Really important. I did Drama at college that’s always been part of it. I guess that went into how I dress and stuff because I was really obsessed with The Horrors. I was emo and all of that stuff, I had a look, pea-cocking yourself and trying to find someone the same as you and sharing that. I remember seeing in Glasgow, I was the only one in my area that dressed like I did. Then I went to school, I went to Glasgow and I saw another girl who had the black skinny jeans with the pointy shoes and the big hair, I remember having heart palpitations because there was someone else like me, that’s amazing! It’s such nice feeling to have that community, even if it’s two or three of you taking pictures of yourself for Myspace back in the day. A lot of the time my mum would be quite terrified of me going out in certain outfits, afraid of the Scottish mentality, the ranger Celtic games, all the footballers. Sometimes I used to take a bag of clothes with me and change on the train. Obviously the first show we just wanted to be LOVERBOY, which is the club, get everybody to come round. I had to recycle a lot of my MA pieces and put a few other pieces from Savile Row, it’s that idea of reinterpreting that collection again. The second collection for MAN is one that we thought we would evolve and apply bits from the previous show. We do sittings for models, we have people walk up and down the Vogue Fabrics corridor. We had one model, Tyler, Jack and I thought that when she started down the runway she should pretend to be coming out of a Mayfair club that she didn’t like, feeling violated, so she put her coat over her dress, walking out and felt like she was reaffirming herself in front of the photographers. We had Harry, Jack’s brother, he was in a drunk suit, you come out of the club you’re really drunk. There was another one who was on something strong… I think it’s really important because it not only feels right but it’s something that’s really lacking, that kind of drama. People used to clap on the runway for a reason. People used to clap not only for the clothes but for the energy that was in the room. We have an idea for the next one… When we were talking about it we were all very excited and I think that shows it’s a good one.
20 APR 2016. 16:35
Q. Princess Julia: Do you think there’s a space in the fashion curriculum for outsider fashion? How do you adapt that to selling clothes?
A. When we were in Paris, it was really interesting to see all the buyers react to the clothes and what they were interested in and what they bought into. We portray all of this other energy into the performative aspect and the clothes are so well made and they have a life of their own, each piece is different. If you look t our jackets they are really well made and easy to wear, you can take them apart and you can wear them with other things. When people like Dover Street Market come to look at the clothes you can see that they have an eye for the tailored pieces, the artistic pieces, from what I can gather they’re interested in the individual touch.
20 APR 2016. 16:32
Q. Princess Julia: What about gender fluidity?
A. It’s very ingrained in the design process. I mentioned before that the thing I like about us in comparison between a lot of the a-gender, underground brands in New York who operate more in these non body shapes. We always hint at classical aspects and apply cheeky details to them. With our skirts we have thick pockets so that you can give yourself a little touch if you need to.
20 APR 2016. 16:32
Q. Princess Julia: How important is music to your process?
A. It’s always on. Jack always plays Joanna Newsom downstairs where all the art things are going on, and I’m upstairs with a bit of disco. I have a lot of Donna Summer to please Sybil. It’s very eclectic. My mum loved Boy George and I grew up with Boy George and my dad loved a lot of the disco as well.
20 APR 2016. 16:02
Q. Princess Julia: How does your relationship with Jack work?
A. Usually it starts with me shouting downstairs, 'Jack! Jack!' It’s a bit hyper. I do have little diva moments sometimes.
20 APR 2016. 15:52
Q. Charlie Porter: Lets talk about the combination or the tension between control and chaos, and that seems to be happening here.
A. Yeah definitely, I’ve always been a bit like that. Trying to even talk sometimes, I find it quite hard to concentrate, and I’ve always put myself down on that, like in high school, I used to put myself down for not concentrating hard enough. I think it’s more a case of validating that and giving that some acceptance. That happened on the MA very much so, I was coming at my work from all these different angles and then a lot of the time people like Louise wouldn’t understand and be like ‘You have to follow through with one thing.’ But then it was after a while with the support of Fabio who was so patient with me and he would give me 2 or 3 hour tutorials purely because I was wanting and being so frustrated with trying to do something and following through with one idea. It gave validation to everything. Things like the way I wear stuff and the way I put things together on myself that was then focused on. When I had that one element to look at everything sort of fell into place and I had a lot more confidence. With LOVERBOY, that was the place for me to just do everything at once, have it within this one space. The great thing about VFD is that you can change the space, be a character or operate in lots of different paradigms and put your work into lots of different contexts. I think thats the thing I like about what we do and we started with LOVERBOY and its now fed into my work here and I think I’m able to feel calm and accept what I’m doing because I’m working with lots of different people as well. There’s lots of options and giving it validation in one space, you know it’s fine to have a dead horse here and some daisies here and clouds here and this because that’s what we’re about and we’re saying that’s what we’re about. We want to take it further and add more elements to it.
20 APR 2016. 15:06
Q. Charlie Porter: It's interesting how much process is a part of the work as well. It seems to be really intrinsic to the whole project. The process is really there in everything.
A. It’s really like a think tank, a factory vibe where everything is happening as one and ideas can spark from whatever is being made here. It’s a really ideal situation for me to be in because we have the chance to change the space, we can make something for a particular project, not necessarily a show but its to decorate a room with things and exist in the space and be really quite free-thinking, and i really like that as a process. We can do that back at the studio in VFD, because being there and also doing nights there, you’re in this kind of space where you can be and draw and do things and then go downstairs and lose yourself or go and watch some poetry. It’s that kind of environment that I really like. It’s people that come into that environment too that you see things with you’re naturally interacting with them as your friend or they’ll tell you about a performance and they’ll be wearing something really interesting and you’ll be like ‘Oh that’s great, let’s do something like that’ or you remember what someone’s worn another night there and say ‘let’s do something like that.’ Being in that environment and doing things really helps with the design process. Even now, we’re doing a lot of research for next season which is outside of our primary research as well and to have a bit more of a direction. But even then, doing that it keeps getting filtered with other things happening in the studio or things that Jack is wearing or Kevin is wearing or people that you see in the street. It’s that sort of thing that you see or on TV and you think “Oh let’s stick that in there.’ Or like an object and you think ‘let’s do that as a necklace.’
20 APR 2016. 15:05
Q. Charlie Porter: It’s really interesting that at a time where there is an obsession with the industry being in a state of disaster, but the most interesting stuff is finding it’s own way in a new way outside of the old idea of the way fashion should be.
A. I think that point about queer culture that takes direct space and then transforms it, I think it’s that idea with the fashion industry. There’s other designers like Vetements who do select productions. But I feel people are bored by that quick quick quick quick, next look thing and they want something a bit more, and I definitely feel like that. I couldn’t exist in that world where you go into a design house, you do sketches….I did that in internships and as much as it was really informative and I worked hard, it was still very much….I remember just being at a computer desk once on an internship and doing illustrator and my brain just switching off and I thought, 'This can’t be what it is. It really can’t…' But it is. It’s fabulous, you get good money and can go on holiday and get nice lunches everyday…I mean I have a lot of respect for people who are working in the industry but you do come up with some brilliant ideas and sometimes you need creative people who come up with ideas and do some amazing things but with certain boundaries. It’s just not for me. I really couldn’t do it. If I was to go into another house, I’d have to still have an environment….not like this, I don’t want to be a diva about it, but I’d have to have something which is informing the work other than a bag of research.
20 APR 2016. 13:54
Q. Charlie Porter: It’s what was exceptional about the first map of the Fashion East presentation in the downstairs space of the ICA, it was that complete encapsulation of the club environment at 11 in the morning and that sense of chaos and yet I remember you saying ‘That jacket was made on Savil Row’ even there at the beginning of it, having your life outside of college, that understanding between the two was there.
A. Yeah definitely. I was really lucky to have that project to actually go into Savile Row and meet with a tailor, and have fittings with a tailor and discussing our process with theirs. That really hit home, because it was an echo of my MA, where I had a tailored suit. So I’d take that element and apply it to Savile Row, so it really hit home that it was something that I really wanted to do, to kind of go for it. The interesting thing about that show as well is that even though in the context of Grace and me and the chaos there with the calmness and that felt so right with what was happening in the moment, you couldn’t really get there anywhere else.
20 APR 2016. 13:53
Q. Charlie Porter: From the very beginning and from the outset you had an absolute interest in tailoring and serious pattern cutting whilst also having a sweater that’s threaded or opened with electric tape through it. Your practice seems to have control and chaos.
A. For me it was always sort of giving each one perspectives. When you look at one thing like the tailored jacket which is really clean and beautiful and you can take it for what it is but when you put it in the context of something else, it’s what gives it a whole other life. It’s almost like, I was watching this video….I think it’s called Charmless Way’, the one about Queer Identity, but then he did another one about ‘Should We Abolish Masculinity’, where he talks about how the ideal male form is a white man in a suit, because he looks like a James Bond character, like an ideal, in control sort of…thing. I found that really interesting that that’s how menswear is perceived to be the ultimate bore, but if you put into a different context or subvert that or put it into a different context or twist it or make it drunk or put it into a context like we’re doing now where you turn it into something a bit more feminine and couture based but still with a lapel there’s still those things and you can read it in a different way. I think beforehand, our other collections, because my own hand tends to be a lot more chaotic with making things, like people are much better at and I have much more confidence in is having those pieces which are really handmade and hand-done. In order to justify those I had to have it with something that was really really beautifully made in order for me to feel comfortable with it and also for it to be read well. If I was doing this all myself, not with the team that I have, it would be another animal all together, which might be like this, but it might not be. It could just be a mass of things. I mean I’ve sometimes done that on myself where I’ve completely just made the outfit for myself and its just been completely shredded and I’ve been able to do it at LOVERBOY. Really making an outfit and wrapping myself in sellotape and tins and painting bits of myself and it’s this kind of scarecrow-like thing. That has to come out every now and again but I think taking elements of that. Well I did that on the MA, I remember Louise saying, ‘That looks like a scarecrow!’ with trousers that had big panels open and holes cut out and they were grazed and bonded but then I decided to sellotape around the leg and I taped some fur around the head and I had this ripped T-shirt that had the tape thing already going into it. I think it’s about putting that with something that’s really beautiful and well-made and seeing those pieces act or seeing it actually be made, and seeing one of my designs though Savil Row, just seeing how that’s put together. I think it’s almost calming down a little bit, it’s putting that personality of the other garments where people can be like ‘Oh it’s funny’ and then you’re reading it in another way.
20 APR 2016. 13:30
Q. Charlie Porter: It’s things like men who are wearing a long coat, if they knew that the bottom half of it was called the skirts, they’d be like ‘No it’s not, no it’s not.’ A man wearing a long coat is essentially a man in a thick dress.
A. There’s so many aspects of womenswear which is based on menswear and thats seen as acceptable but when you do the opposite…well now in our generation its sort of ‘Oh whatever’. We read it as being the norm but there’s still those foundations where people are looking at it as subverted or it’s shocking ‘It’s a man in a dress’, when actually it’s completely fine and not even anything to think about.
20 APR 2016. 13:15
Q. Charlie Porter: It was probably one of the most memorable things I’ve ever seen in terms of menswear. Have you ever read a book called ‘Sex and Suits’ by Anne Hollander. She’s an extraordinary thinker about fashion and she writes about how the suit is the perfect garment that has ever been made in terms of articulation and the way it sits on the form. It’s something I always think back to because her argument is that all other design strives to be as perfect as the suit and fails, which I find fascinating because yes that’s true but it then also becomes stagnant in terms of the way the suit moves forward. But it’s interesting that the suit still holds that thing to subvert. It still holds that sense of power and that idea of ‘Men’ and who men should be and what they can be.
A. Where the suit came from is very interesting, beforehand it was the Fops and the Dandies and they were all about extravagance and they were almost matching the women i their outward appearance and then obviously after the backlash they returned and wanted to be seen as these characters so they removed all these decorations and they went back to what we know as that suit idea. The main thing about the suit that I like is that it can go over any body and it can flatter anybody. Thats the thing on Savile Row, they can flatter a male form and each house on that Row has a different way of flattering the form. The one that I worked with Chittleborough Morgan, they’re very much into the idea of shaping the body, which is actually very interesting for what we’re doing now and will accentuate the hips of a man and really give them an hourglass figure, and that fact that it can still register as really masculine because of the lapel, the size of the lapel and things like that.
20 APR 2016. 13:15
Q. Charlie Porter: You’re still working with an exaggerated male silhouette because you like a stronger shoulder and things built up.
A. That kind of came a lot more from what I had available in my wardrobe and that idea of going to charity shops to find things to wear because all you can really afford as a student most of the time. So having things that won’t necessarily fit for yourself and wearing that and carrying yourself with a confidence and there was something in that I wanted to communicate in the MA show. You know carrying yourself and justifying the misshapenness of it. The fact that the trousers I had that I based that suit off of was so big that I ended up pulling them up over my belt and ripping the waistband and putting the belt through it that on the MA Fabio picked up on. I’d give a really random, worn out sketch and he’d be like ‘Why have you given me that when the trousers you are wearing now are so much more fabulous.’ So I’d be like ‘Ok let’s take that and copy that and move forward with that kind of sensibility. I’m still trying to find a way that incorporated the two in a sense of flow. But right now its very much a case of ‘Well we have this garment and this is what it is, but then its now been ripped in two or it’s worn with something else’ which is more artistic. But what I’d love to go into is to have them in harmony and informing the other as the garment itself which we’re kind of doing in this particular project, even though the two aspects of the garment are different like the bag is the thing with all the shape and frills on it and the aspects of couture that we like, which I’ve picked in that collage-y way. Then the jacket has al those elements to it as well so I really want to experiment with combining the two and seeing how that works and coming up with more organic shapes and silhouettes.
20 APR 2016. 13:04
Q. Charlie Porter: The exciting thing for me, a very old man, is that things can be happening in London that I know nothing about, and a community that is nothing to do with me and it’s completely thrilling because it’s a generation below and generation below and generation below that’s doing something completely new and captivating. I think when you’re older you think no-one is doing anything like that but actually it’s like of course they are, there’ll always be something going on and that’s what I find most exciting about it.
A. There’s always going to be a sort of divide to it. I remember talking to Louise, God bless her, before she died there was a lot of cynicism about our generation and how there’s not the same amount of passion, and there’s not the same amount of drive, but then she’s also understanding of the fact that the fees are so high now that nobody has a comfortable reaction to the work anymore. It’s like 'I’ve got to be amazing otherwise I’ve failed my whole entire life and I’m in debt for no reason.' Loads of students are doing that right now, but I think there is a lot of cynicism that that’s 'Well fuck it, that’s the end of it, there’s no hope.' But she cleverly did that and communicated it to all of us to spark us up and be like 'We can do this.' I really remember that and feeling 'Well fuck this, I love St. Martins, I came here for a reason and worked really hard for this.' Yes I was terrified half the time that I wasn’t good enough but I’m not about to let that happen. That really made me have these strong moral ideas about what I wanted to do. Then when I was given the opportunity and actually had the space to work in and have the people around me like I have now and have the confidence to be like 'Fuck it, we can do this' and have hope. I remember when I was talking to someone just after the show and it was an article for Now Fashion and it was about hope. I said 'We have to have hope otherwise what's the fucking point in getting out of bed.' Yes maybe there are people who have hope that is more tactical, and they have hope in a calculated way but I have hope in more of a dream way and want to communicate that in the work that I do, a bit more in a fantastical way, but then maybe I can meet somebody or have somebody come into the team that has that kind of drive as well. We already have a bit of that as a collective, but I still want this to be a business and I’m very aware of that side of the fashion industry, and I don’t want to fall down, I don’t want to make that happen.
20 APR 2016. 13:04
Q. Charlie Porter: Going back to the beginning, because you have that tension between the control and chaos, it’s not just chaos, or ‘we get trashed, we have fun’. It means something.
A. The more work that we do, I feel it reiterates that. It makes me feel that LOVERBOY is more than just a club night, it’s more than just clothes even, as much as that is the backbone of it, it’s an idea. It’s a hope for people who are feeling a bit hopeless and I know that sounds cheesy but….that’s what it is.
20 APR 2016. 11:31
Q. What do you want to achieve today?
A. The jacket is finished, the lining and padding to do. We finished designing the bag yesterday, so we’re just adding the new part at the top. Today is going to be putting together the components of the bag and Kevin is coming later on today to do a rehearsal for his performance and a fitting. We have Matthew helping today, helping with the embroidery and the gloves. We’re going to be passing the gloves around to everyone in the room today and getting everyone to put a flower in. We have a bodysuit as well which is going to be coming later. Everyone’s really good here so It’s fine. We have a lot of the set to do, we have turf, a cube that needs to be made out of wood and a lot of hand stitching flowers on curtains. There’s a lot to do today!
20 APR 2016. 11:30
Q. Do you have an ultimate goal that underlines your work?
A. I guess I see this label as a project almost. I think that's a healthy way to look at it. It’s come from some place, it’s now this, it could be something else in the future, I would like to see it last for ten years, I think that’s a nice number. Ultimate goal would then be to get a job which is a creative directorship somewhere. The ultimate goal really is to make money and be comfortable. I’m going to work everyday and enjoying the work I’m doing so that’s covered already. I’ve got a great team, that’s covered already. Money, I’m just starting but I need to be financially secure and to have made a mark.
20 APR 2016. 11:07
Q. Why the horse?
A. Why not the horse? Sometimes I think when we do things like this a lot of the ideas are really random, 'Oh my God let’s just have a big horse.' In the spirit of SHOWstudio, remembering Nick Knight’s dead flogged horse we thought we would… Wink Wink! It’s been attacked by fashion. Fashion road kill.
20 APR 2016. 11:06
Q. What's the most challenging fabric you've worked with?
A. Cashmere. The cashmere stuff that we worked with is from this company called Begg & Co who we work with, who we’ve worked with for a long time. Because it’s for throws there’s like loose ribbon and stuff, so to tailor with it, which we did with Savile Row, that was really difficult. We had to do lots of taping of the edges and stuff like that. But also the painted fabric too, last season we painted a big pile of fabric, these paintings we then cut up and put into the garment. When we gave it to our trouser man Steve, he was like 'I’m never going to do that again' because the paint is so thick in some areas. So for production we have to tape things and then paint it. Or we just paint denim as a garment but try to do it on each leg.
20 APR 2016. 11:06
Q. What’s the most beautiful fashion image ever?
A. One of my favourite images is, either that one by Nick Knight, the John Galliano one with all the powder. I think that’s so beautiful. Some of the images that we take for LOVERBOY are just beautiful. I think there’s almost a fashion element to it because it’s kind of a look.
19 APR 2016. 18:06
Q. Are you happy with today’s progress?
A. Absolutely loved today. Really really grateful for all the help I’ve had and it just feels really right. I think when you claim a space like this you can do your own thing. Tomorrow it’s going to change again and then on Thursday it’s going to be another style.
19 APR 2016. 17:39
Q. Would you say that you’re a political designer?
A. I am getting more interested in politics. I wasn’t before, I was in my own head. I’m getting into it slowly. That’s for someone else to say for now, I would rather wait until I’m fully confident in the messages I’m trying to say. I would definitely say we’re trying to push queer ideas in our work so if that makes it political then yes. I guess community as well, that’s a political thing. I think fashion is a reflection of what’s going on, whether that’s a prediction of what’s going on or it’s an idea that someone has that people can bounce off of. I wish it was more to be honest, there’s a few designers that I’ve seen do it but I’m yet to see a designer who does it in a kind of subverted way.
19 APR 2016. 17:35
Q. Why did you choose to collaborate with Kevin to model the final garment?
A. A few reasons. First of all he’s a friend of mine, secondly, his work has a rawness to it which I really relate to. There’s lots of things we have in common, we’ve shared a lot together, I think there’s something about that sharing as a friendship but also being inspired by the work, it's something you have to explore. He’s got a really great sense of colour and he’s got such a great image. I just really love it. For this particular project and for the work that we do it just feels so right.
19 APR 2016. 17:35
Q. World's most stylish man?
A. Quentin Crisp.
19 APR 2016. 17:01
Q. What house would you want to work for?
A. I want Westwood. I’ve wanted it since I was little. My mum used to wear loads of Westwood and it has always been in the house. She used to have those little court shoes and cropped jackets. The thing I love about it is her look. I love that three part documentary 'Painted Ladies' where she just talks about her process and that’s been super inspiring. We go to the Wallace Collection too. I read this book called 'How to steal like an artist' which is about if you really like somebody instead of copying their work you just look at what they liked and then you look at what that person liked and you create your own kind of recipe. She really respects history and respects ideas and the way she puts out into her work, the way she designs, it has that romance to it. Looking into the environment, I have a lot of respect for her.
19 APR 2016. 16:41
Q. Specifically talking about the gloves - what techniques have been used to create the felted and different effects? You mentioned the felting before but just tell me a little bit more about that effect.
A. Well it’s a secret recipe that has been developed. We’re going to use it in the next season so we don’t want to talk about it too much. It’s basically a felting technique that isolates the felting because that’s something we’ve done in previous knitwear, in jumpers and stuff. So what we’re doing with the hand embroidery is kind of passing it on. We have such an architectural jacket, so we want to reflect it back with a different sense of hand-finishing. It’s a little bit more raw in some aspects and we need to have something next to the jacket that's really structured, human and well-finished but it’s a different approach to it.
19 APR 2016. 16:26
Q. Would you rather have the custody of 100 cats or 100 dogs?
A. Dogs! I’m horrifically allergic to cats. I stayed over at Alisdair’s after the Rolling Stones exhibition and I fell asleep. He has 2 cats and one of them was so beautiful and sat on me, when I woke up I think my body started to react to it and half my face swelled up and I literally looked like the elephant man. Then I had to come to the studio and I had haemorrhoid cream on my eyes. So 100 dogs.
19 APR 2016. 15:54
Q. Tell us more about the reference image. Do you often reference historical or traditional dress?
A. There's definitely a lean towards it now for sure. I’ve always been interested in doing research and looking at things. We are planning on going to the V&A for research. You hear about designers doing that, like Giles Deacon went to the Clothworker’s Guild, so I really want to do it. I don’t think I’ll have time this season but next season for sure. I really want to go and actually feel it, I mean when we looked at Dior you could really see how it was all put together. Nowadays, in fashion you don’t have the time or opportunity to even learn those techniques in education now. You just don’t have time to practice it.
19 APR 2016. 15:43
Q. Could you ever imagine working in house for a brand?
A. I would love to. I really would love to. That would be my dream to do both, because I think it's important having your own set up and investigating yourself as a designer, but then to apply the skills that you’ve brought up and what you’ve acquired and to then apply it to another house would be a luxury. I think as a fashion designer it’s the ultimate goal to get to do both.
19 APR 2016. 15:39
Q. Was it easy to create your label? Would you recommend it to someone else as it comes out from a BA? What would you have done if you hadn’t started your own label?
A. For me I was lucky in that I had the great people at Fashion East approach me and give me a platform, and obviously with Topman as well, giving us the support and all of the other aspects like a showroom, you take for granted sometimes that it’s been given to you which I’m so grateful for. But it is difficult. It’s a lot of money and it’s things like Vogue Fabrics, I get a studio there, I’ve got a space to work and thats something that if I didn’t have that, I would not be able to do it, and thats the reality of it unfortunately. It could be the universe but if you believe in it and work hard at it things do come your way, but the one thing that I’m lacking sometimes is a bit of a reality check. I count myself as a very lucky person, but you have to have that reality check. The most important thing to do is speak to young designers who are also doing it. I learned a lot from people around me and the other fashion people and the people that you meet when you're out and they help you and they give you the rundown. Just go out of your way and ask questions. I always love it when somebody who I’ve never met comes up to me and asks me something, you admire that they are really gung-ho and they want to learn things. Some of the students I teach are like that, they’re super passionate and super hard-working, you know they’re like ‘Whats this, whats this, whats this?’ But it’s like ‘Good for you, Yes I can tell you this’ and that information is really valuable. So I’d say make some projections financially, if your parents live in London, live with them for a bit, do that because thats the main thing, it’s rent which is the scary thing. But if you have a nice foundation and a set up or at least you could comprehend a little bit then it’s there, and then you can dream and go for it. I have my foundations there, and I often don’t have them in other aspects but I like to think what I’m pushing for and what I’m dreaming about always keeps me going.
19 APR 2016. 15:38
Q. When you start your own project or start preparing for next collection where do you look first for grabbing that inspiration point? You talked a little bit about how you get inspiration with this magpie approach with people and in terms of referencing design and fabrics, but when you start prepping your next collection what do you look to first? Or is it something thats more internal?
A. It’s reacting to whats happening in my life, that's one starting point. But then sometimes it’s a reaction to previous work, so the last 2 collections were a reaction to the previous one and where I feel it needs to go next. And then there's also lots of other things that come from that, so what I’m obsessed with at the time, like a documentary or a video or a designer or something like that...it all gets filtered into it. It’s also just people that I hang around with and thats a massive part of it, or seeing something and being like ‘Oh lets put that in there’. There's a thread of reaction to the collection and the other slice of it is the things around it.
19 APR 2016. 15:33
Q. Would you say that you’re an obsessive person?
A. Definitely. I’m maybe a bit more visceral now and I can not get too obsessed with something but I can get very very into something.
19 APR 2016. 14:27
Q. What advice do you have for fashion students? Returning to the topic of tuition fees and education and cuts, and your role as a teacher, do you see that there is a lot of ambition and expectations but not necessarily a lot of passion?
A. Passion always comes from being….well not calm, but having a nice relationship with the people you work with, that doesn’t feel stressed or pushed or where you have to perform this certain way. You do see people have this fleeting admiration for fashion who are really brilliant and you're like ‘For fuck’s sake, if I had what you had…Christ! But then you see people who don’t necessarily have that but work so hard and you believe what they do more because they believe what they’re dong more and I think thats what the main aspect of it is. If you’re passionate about working, then yes talent does count for a lot of things but if you really believe in what you’re doing and push it and dedicate yourself to it then that's what's important.
19 APR 2016. 14:19
Q. What is your biggest failure or weakness?
A. My pride. That goes back to me being a bit of a Leo. I think sometimes my attention level, I can get a bit distracted and stuff like that. I think that can sometimes be a bit of a weakness because by being quite patient and holding things down you can kind of get a lot of really beautiful work. Thats not to say that that doesn't happen from my own process. Don’t know...this could go into a dark place...I don’t know because I work a lot with my friends and there's that kind of line because you want to please everybody that you care about and you think you can. It can be really really fabulous but then there's challenges of communication, you don’t want to upset anyone but that's not really happened so far, but you know it is a challenge...
19 APR 2016. 14:18
Q. Where did your relationship with Savile Row come from?
A. The Savile Row project was through this gallery called Maison Mais Non which is in Soho, and that was a project which basically was the graduates from the MA and Savile Row coming together to come up with a project. So thats how the communication with them started, I’ve always wanted it, it's always been something that I’ve kind of got. Going back to The Horrors, they were tailoring-based so I’ve always had a penchant for that. I just think Savile Row they always know suits inside out and working with Chittleborough and Morgan, we would talk about stuff and look at stuff and be like 'how did you do that?', 'If we use this fabric, how would that work?’ and they would have all the solutions for those problems. You know it's like a Haute Couture situation, realising their own techniques and we’d not worked with them last season because of timing but I’d definitely like to revisit working with them again because it's going to be a massive part of my work, like the tailoring side. I think there's something about them, I think that when I was watching the performers in The Horrors there was something quite bold and striking about it, like that black and white kind of thing and I also think there is something traditional menswear like. A lot of people want to look like that kind of guy in the suit 'cause it's like achieving masculinity, you sort of subvert that and there's something really flirty about it. I always like that idea. You can wear it in something and there is so many amazing designers who have done that as well in the past, like Antony Price, there's something about it.
19 APR 2016. 14:18
Q. Do you consciously reference former clubbers and designers. Leigh Bowery? Rachel Auburn?
A. Not really! Thats the thing, so obviously a lot of people understand that it's like 'oh I’ve seen that before' but we didn’t actually have that in our research, there's a whole subconscious thing you know I’m very aware and have so much respect and admiration for those designers. But the club scene has these aspects, it's about affirmation and going out to be positive and being together with other people and I think those sort of aspects you can see in Renaissance art and 18th century and people look to that and can marry the two. Then there's also people who reference all sorts of guys at the club night, at LOVERBOY, so you know there's all those things and pictures we look at and think 'ok that does sort of look like that.'
19 APR 2016. 14:17
Q. How do you respond to criticism of your work?
A. When I was on the MA you know the whole process is through criticism. It's all through that, you used to have to fight for things, it's that kind of process, I did find it quite hard sometimes. I think it's just your life, your work and it's really important, sometimes you have to take on what they say if it's constructive and sometimes you have to be like 'If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.' You see a lot of people who feel like they can’t take it and they can’t deal with it or don’t have the fight or drive to continue. You do have to question it and question yourself, even when we’re doing stuff now, you have to look at it a few times and you know you almost criticise yourself in order to reaffirm it, so I think it's important to kind of have that and have a healthy relationship with it, but not take it too personally.
19 APR 2016. 13:37
Q. How is that beret staying on?!
A. It is just very well made, thats all it is. I don’t know I just like it to be right here, yeah sometimes I’ll put it right at the front, and so its just a halo like that!
19 APR 2016. 13:23
Q. What are you creating?
A. I’ve worked with Tracey who I collaborated with on my MA. She was in first year when I was in my final year. We’ve come up with a textile secret recipe! Tracy has worked with Laxtons wool, it’s a felting technique, we’ve isolated where we’re going to felt. Tracey looked at my illustrations for inspiration. I really like that process. We’re also making some gloves, we wanted something really beautiful in acid colours because Kevin has acid hair and we have to co-ordinate!
19 APR 2016. 12:33
Q. How do you come up with your designs for your clothing?
A. I guess, it's lots of things really, I think every studio is different, with us it's very much about me sitting in the corner barking out ideas like, 'oh we should do this' and then us trying to realise them, it's a mixture of things, sometimes I’ll sketch, sometimes Jack and I will just take pictures of each other, sometimes we’ll get something like a jacket and then do something to it. I mean I’ve got a really fab team, like Naomi and Sibyl and everybody else, who I can have such a dialogue with. It's quite funny, Sibyl was saying to me 'oh wow we’re actually getting sketches from you Charles,' because usually I’m pinning stuff in or just talking about it, but I’m very immediate, I’m like 'oh god that would be fabulous to do this.' I can’t really talk too much about what it's going to be but it's a lot of research and a lot of looking back and sort of giving respect to things. Not trying to deliver too much but you know… it’ll be different every season. The more confidence you have as a designer is a really big player. Of course revisiting things you’ve done in the past that have been successful and trying to reappropriate that or reuse it again, there's all these aspects that come into it, responding to stores as well, what their pools are like and then kind of being like, 'oh actually that would look quite nice if we did that in another colour or we did that again.'
19 APR 2016. 12:01
Q. Do you think you will go into womenswear?
A. Definitely, I think what we do is based upon not only just our friends, but also look at a lot of womenswear as well, you know it's just a natural thing. We’re now at a stage where we’re not even questioning it, 'oh thats womenswear,' or 'that's a dress on a man,' it's just like that's how it is. I think that there's lots of details in womenswear especially things in Couture, that are so interesting and applicable to menswear in terms of going back to the queer thing, it's all this idea about rejecting gender norms completely and applying anything that's in that sort of manner so I’d say yeah definitely. I mean it's just in the buying, when I was in the Paris showrooms, we had a womenswear-only pool and that was really interesting to see, I mean just as a designer to see how stores take on your clothes. It's really important. Our oversized tailoring and stuff looks really flattering on a girl and then there's other aspects like the colours that we use, I think that would be quite important and would look nice on a girl. When we shot our lookbook, we put it on a girl and it just felt right, not in the sense that we’re definitely going to do womenswear but it just looked sort of cool.
19 APR 2016. 10:02
Q. How important is gender nowadays and does it define what we are wearing?
A. Coming from someone who would like to class themselves as queer in that whole spectrum of things, gender I guess is a spectrum, that’s my way of thinking about it. I think it’s still important in terms of aesthetic. I suppose it’s important to signify, you have to have something to subvert in order to have progress, to move forward and to change things. In order to subvert you really do have to know what the small aspects are of each gender. It’s fun to play with those things. I think sexuality has had so much, not media attention, but watered down, we still have to fight for a lot of things, but gender is still physically a drastic change sometimes and I think that’s why some people can get a bit… But I think they need to get over it and that’s what’s great about fashion, they are celebrating it and putting it in the place it needs to be.
18 APR 2016. 17:05
Q. What's your star sign?
A. Leo! I’m so into star signs. I know it’s bullshit but I love to indulge in it. I always think it helps me to get to know the person. If you know a few nuances about that sign you’re more confident about talking to that person. Leos are vain. Good leaders, quite kind and generous and big personalities usually.
18 APR 2016. 17:04
Q. What is your favourite city and why?
A. London. It’s my home. I moved around a lot when I was younger because my dad was in the army so I never really found somewhere where I could be like 'this is where I’m from.' Glasgow I guess because that’s where my family is from but even then as soon as I hit eighteen I moved down to London and didn’t really get to experience being an adult in Glasgow. I would love to go New York, that’s my dream to try and go there.
18 APR 2016. 17:04
Q. Do you think you would have done LOVERBOY and what you do if you hadn’t gone to Central Saint Martins? How important has it been going there?
A. I think a lot of the clubs I went to before, when I first moved to London, there was a whole scene that was part Central Saint Martins but also people within the fashion industry. Ponystep and Boombox, that had a whole industry crowd, then there was a big lull and nothing was happening anymore. I found that there was a need for a place to go. I had an underage club when I was younger in Glasgow so I mean I still kind of did bits. But I think being in Central Saint Martins has definitely helped a hell of a lot to make LOVERBOY grow and become the thing that it is.
18 APR 2016. 16:54
Q. What will have the biggest impact on fashion over the next few years?
A. The Economy. The Conservative Party probably. If they’re going to continue what they’re doing especially with education. I noticed just in the time at CSM that loans went higher. People now always have a fear to do things and try things. This has to be the most successful thing ever, I have to be a really big hit after I leave here. Its just about doing work and finding yourself. To paraphrase a quote from Louise Wilson 'It’s just about slacking off every now and again and having that time to think about things and approach the world in a calm manner.' I think people sometimes have quite a removed approach to fashion, instead of it being so personal. I had that, I really felt that pressure in my final year of BA. I had the best time with my friends and it turned out to be really good but I really felt that pressure to do something out of my own comfort zone. Whereas with my MA I had a chance to sit and be patient and have that one-to-one interaction with the tutors and be like 'this is what you do and this is how you work' and that helped me calm down and realise that everything I’m doing is valid and actually has purpose and informs the work rather than something I second guess. The money thing, in terms of education affects fashion for sure.
18 APR 2016. 16:44
Q. What is the one item of clothing you must have? (Not from your own collection).
A. I have these trousers that I’ve been wearing every single day for the past year. They are a pair of flares but they are just this material that you can crumple on the floor and you don’t need to iron it. You can just pop it on and it works with everything. I’ll always have a suit on so I think thats the main part of it.
18 APR 2016. 16:24
Q. What’s your ultimate track to dance to and how does music inspire your designs?
A. I’m super into love 'Love Hangover' by Diana Ross, I just love the buildup to it, with my music is I guess, I always think about things and come up with ideas when I’m walking and listening to music, so I live in Shoreditch and I work in Vogue Fabrics, VFD, so that long walk is one straight street and I tend to get distracted by things with lots of things happening at the same time, but it seems like a bit of meditation. I love that process and how things can become clear and music is really thought provoking but that really helps me come up with a lot of ideas, then that will store up and when I come back I’ll be like 'We should do this!.'
18 APR 2016. 16:20
Q. Does current fashion excite you at the moment?
A. Yes? I sometimes feel when you’re doing your own work it’s so insular, you’re in your own bubble quite a lot which I guess can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I really like the New York underground scene like Moses Gauntlett Cheng, I find them really inspiring because they’re sort of doing what we’re doing. I have a lot of respect for them.
18 APR 2016. 16:20
Q. Who was your biggest influence or inspiration when you were growing up?
A. I don’t know, I always liked painting when I was younger. My mum introduced me to Dali and Magritte and loads of surrealist paintings. We had Kandinsky and that in the house so I guess that influenced me when I was younger. I was also really into Pokemon and video games. In terms of fashion, the first designer I got inspired by was Gareth Pugh. It was like ‘Oh my God what the hell is this,’ and I remember just being so into it. Before that I was obsessed with the band The Horrors. It was this idea of a ‘look’ and Gareth Pugh had that ‘look’ as well with his collections, the early ones, I think it was 2007, that had a solid club look.