Graduate Fashion Week showcase: An interview with UEL fashion design student Henry Marire
Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) is the annual presentation of the work of the fresh design talent coming out of over 40 UK and overseas university BA Fashion Design programs. The largest graduate fashion event in the world, GFW provides a showcase for the year’s best new talent. The event is attended by potential employers, national and international media and industry and is a potential career kick-starter for those students lucky enough to be chosen to participate, as these industry titans all flock to London to be the first to spot fashion’s next big thing.
As GFW 2012 approaches, and in salute to our homegrown talent, The Upcoming will be supporting British fashion students and running a series of interviews with students selected to show their graduate collections at this year’s event. Those chosen come from The University of East London, an institution whose graduates have in the past often been overlooked in favour of their counterparts from more well-known institutions.
The Upcoming interviewed BA Fashion Design student Henry Marire, a menswear designer who says he is not your typical fashion designer.
TU: Give me a short introduction of yourself.
HM: My name is Henry Trey Obi Marire shortened to form the name of my clothing brand, it’s called HENRY OBi. I wouldn’t say that I am your typical fashion designer, I had no fashion and arts background before I started at UEL where I am studying (Fashion & Marketing) but I have always being interested in fashion and anything that requires creativity. I feel like 25 going on 40, just from the immense stress of fashion!
Why did you choose fashion as your chosen career?
I just wanted to make money to be honest. I thought it was a good way of starting a legitimate business so I started my first clothing business called (LIQ~WID), but my lack of understanding of fashion terminology and technique was working against me so I decided to equip myself with practical knowledge and understanding here at UEL.
Who are your greatest heroes and inspirations in fashion?
I wouldn’t go as far as calling them my heroes, but designers such as Rick Owens, Aitor Throup, Geoffrey Beene, Alexander McQueen, my lecturers and many more have inspired me to think differently than I would have in the past; opened my mind I guess.
Tell me about your graduate collection?
The collection is called SONS OF MEN and is an amalgamation of military and sportswear aesthetics, gaining inspiration from functional yet masculine menswear with key garment finishings and details. The overall silhouette reflects a simple yet luxurious feel.
It’s a fusion of hard and lightweight fabrics to evoke a feeling of confidence and under-stated cool for the modern male’s wardrobe.
Who do you envision wearing your collections when you design?
I would like to believe that my work caters to a broad range of consumers, but as far as celebrities for example, ASAP Rocky for my more sporty pieces, Chris Martin from Coldplay for sure and so many more.
What are your hopes and fears for your future careers?
I hope to take bigger risks! My fear is that I stop trying to achieve absolute 100% in what I do.
How does it feel to be chosen to show your collection at GFW?
It felt great of course but at the same time I was sad because some other people who did amazing work didn’t get in.
What is the main piece of advice you would give to the fashion students of tomorrow?
Be sure of what you want to achieve before you start your journey, and also be prepared for the insane amount of hard work and dedication that comes with it but most importantly… have fun!
To you, what is the future of fashion?
More pretentious people (laughs) but hopefully people in this industry will understand that it’s just clothes at the end of the day.
What is next for you upon graduation?
Everything! But I promise to keep you informed every step of the way.
Thank you, Henry, and good luck.
Ian Michael Turner
Photos: Catherine Bridgman