ABILITIES & POSSIBILITIES
David Longshaw’s career follows a smooth curve upwards starting from a work experience at Hussain Chalayan. “I went from Saint Martins straight to the RCA, then, from the RCA straight to design for Alberta Ferretti in Italy, then from Alberta Ferretti, I went to Max Mara,” says the well-spoken Englishman, who launched his eponymous label in 2010. The British brand has been well received by both the press and the public - with stockists (and fans!) from Dubai to Hong Kong to the USA. Playing with fashion is not the only channel he conveys his creativity, as the tall, dark-haired designer also illustrates for different magazines as well as creates comic strips, animations, window displays for Matches during London Fashion Week as well as an installation of his human sized characters made out of Triumph lingerie.
Here, Mr. Longshaw talks to Playing Fashion about the power of fashion in all aspects as well as how he keeps fashion fresh and forward.
REALLY LIKE THE IDEA OF MAKING SOMETHING
people interact with and actually wear everyday or for special occasions. You’d make something in your studio and someone would be wearing it somewhere. Particularly with high end fashion, most people when they buy something, they keep it, collect it, love it, preserve it, wear it every too often, and pass it down. These things have their own life.
ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I GOT INTO FASHION DESIGN
is all the different possibilities. I respect what Ralph Lauren has done - going into homeware and a whole lifestyle. Even with other labels, like Missoni and Versace, they’ve got hotels. When I was at school, McQueen was doing these theatrical shows. It’s one of the few creative careers, where you could actually go into these aspects and not be seen as odd.
ALBERTA FERRETTI AND MAX MARA ARE REALLY DIFFERENT
from each other and myself. It makes you appreciate different markets. You learn what works and doesn’t work at different places. Sometimes I’d collaborate and consult for a different brand, it’s really helpful to have that background with how to get to different people’s mindsets but bring my own spin to it.
COMPANIES IN ITALY TAKE CARE OF YOUR LIFE.
At Max Mara, they feed you lunch as well. So, I came back and think, “Oh, where is that person who magically brings all the fabric samples to me?“ (laughs) It was a bit of a culture shock just having to find everything - how to get it made, pay for everything yourself…
THIS SEASON IS INSPIRED BY MY CHARACTERS FRANCESCA AND ARTHUR
and about Francesca wanting to join a book club, because she decided that was going to be the new chic thing, so they threw out all the ugly books, because they only want to read beautiful things and be seen with beautiful things.
THE CATWALK IS JUST THE TIPPING POINT. THERE’RE
so many other things within being in fashion. It means being able to afford to produce the next collection and be able to manage things and make things on time.
YOU DON’T REALLY REALISE YOU’RE COMPETING WITH THESE BIG COMPANIES
with massive budgets even if your clothes might be a little bit nicer than theirs. They’ve got their own stores and concessions, so it makes you think you need to work out what your own thing is, because it’s not like you can suddenly spend half a million on advertisements and you don’t suddenly have your own shop somewhere.
THERE ARE SO MANY DESIGNERS OUT THERE
you’ve got to have something to last more than a few seasons. You can come out and be a new designer and have a nice technique and that could sustain you for a few seasons, but what do you do after that? Hopefully, I’m creating a little niche for myself.
Photography by Esther Haase; styling by Darren Knight / Ballsaal; hair by Bianca Tuovi / CLMUK; make-up by Emma Miles; model: Sarah Taylor / IMG; photographer's assistants: Daniel Graham Hack; Dominik Kleine.
All pieces in this story - by David Longshaw Fall/Winter 2014. Techno orange triple leather strap and Perspex shoes by Charkviani. Black Heels with white bow by Sophie Gittins. Printed scarf worn as belt over green dress by Emma J Shipley.