GARETH PUGH INTERVIEW – SFW
Interview with Gareth Pugh on Magnificent Madness – SS18 Collection
Over a 20 minute coffee break in a majestic old building on the bund with iconic fashion designer, Gareth Pugh, we spoke about his SS18 collection and his thoughts on Marginalism as he tours me around his curated fashion exhibition at Fashion Weekend during SFW. The exhibition showcased the designer’s timeline of key pieces that have been worn by powerful women ultimately known for breaking boundaries in fashion such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and the likes.
What has inspired your SS18 Collection “This is not a show”
Fashion is more than just selling clothes for me. We should not limit our creativity and energy when designing a collection, and to me that is very important. There are certain systems in place currently within the industry that restrain us from being imaginative, or truly being free with our ideas; I wanted to convey this through my work.
The idea behind my most recent show is to portray something a bit closer to myself, it was to remind people that is not just about selling clothes. I wanted to do something creative and that I loved, there’s a certain system that’s currently in place within the industry that is restraining us to be free or too creative, we wanted to go forward with something that didn’t have these restrictions. I’ve worked with Nick Knight a lot but it’s the first time we could work together and contribute on equal measures.
What is the meaning of Red for you?
Red is versatile, it can represent danger, anger, love, it has so different meanings. We do a lot of black we do a lot of red, it’s become such an important colour for us, there’s fire to it.
How do social, political and views of society impact your designs?
I work a lot with my partner and husband, Carlson, he’s very political, which has probably rubbed off a bit as we work closely together and these types of conversations always arise.
Also the major events that have happened around us last year, things that happened in and America, I think it’s important to use the platform we have as a designer to be part of that communication publicly. To deny or forget about those things and pretend they don’t happen, is something we can’t afford, the fashion industry is composed of a lot of gay men, immigrants and other niches of people who are affected directly by the political decisions that are being made. I think it’s important to have a stance.
How does your style and fashion affect your cinematographic and artistic works, do you think you’ll go more into this direction for the future?
I enjoy doing shows and making clothes, but I also have interests in developing my broader skill set and ensuring I have time for other things I have a passion in. I have worked a lot with Wayne McGregor, a choreographer, to create this film, but also to work on ballet projects with him. I have recently completed two big operas this year, where I designed and created their costumes. It is safe to say, there is very little I will say no to.
What role does digital and social media play when creating a collection?
I do my own Instagram, I can go up to three weeks without posting anything because I only share what in my opinion looks good. When people collections become very “designed for Instagram” it can become too much or too flat. This year we want to break away from this and go towards more sculptural concepts.
Instagram’s a great tool, it’s just having that understand that people post things that they want others to see, it is the final edit, probably something tampered with a few times, which is fine…but there is limited amount of interest I have in this he says laughing.
This year, we wanted to break away from this, and explore sculptural concepts more. Instagram is a great tool for artists and designers, but we have to understand that what we see is what they want us to see, it is the final edit, the finished product, probably something tampered with a few times, which is fine…but there is limited amount of interest I have in this.
In an interview with Vogue, you referred to many of the models in RTW17 as ‘activists, artists and outliers’, what does Marginalism mean to you?
I think what we do is quite niche, it doesn’t have a mass appeal. I tell myself if I’m pleasing everybody I’m doing something wrong, that’s something I’ve always embraced. I think it’s important to oversee what we do for an outside society, something that doesn’t quite sit within the mainstream, I like to celebrate this because they’re the kind of people that I’m naturally most attracted too, they’re also the kind of people who will form and change the world and what tomorrow is, it’s the people who push against what’s going on, which is why the class remain as outliers. This is where my interest is and I think it’s is where the majority of the interest is anyways.
What’s your initial impression on Chinese fashion, how do you think it will evolve in the near future?
This is my first time in Shanghai, and we did a fashion show in Beijing last year. Yesterday, we recently went to see the Shanghai Slaughter house, its really a beautiful space, we were thinking about potentially doing a show in the future, but who knows what we’ll do in China next.
One Chinese designer that has caught my attention is Guo Pei, through her work with the MET Ball ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. Her efforts to bring back Chinese traditional craftsmanship and trying to conserve local and cultural art should be applauded. It reminded me to when Chanel invested in several ateliers in and out of Paris, to achieve the same preservation and support of traditional handicraft.