Lux and Noah: clean, simple and honest clothing
We interviewed Noah, one half of high-quality British menswear brand Lux and Noah, as he discusses youthful inspirations, the relationship between music and design, and sustainable fashion.
What inspires you to sit down and start designing?
Noah: Youth intrigues me. I realised I was always inspired by youth after seeing Hedi Slimane’s photography. The way in which he documents youth illustrates the energy, beauty and innocence that can only come with being young. His clothing is always minimal simplicity and it’s the same with his photographs – snippets of bare flesh, uneasy portraits and guiltless eye contact. Slimane also explores religious iconography, another of my inspirations. I don’t believe in religion, but I am mesmerised by the multiple beliefs and how they entwine, at some points following the same story. Through all religions clothing plays a key part in their practices, therefore I suppose all fashion designers have explored this area in their research at some point. For me I think it’s incredible how a simple object can hold so many positive and negative connotations and the impact they have. My mum had always been sort of religious; she believed in God and an afterlife, but I think her beliefs were constructed from the desperation of her terminally-ill health, comforting herself with a positive end result. Being around that sort of atmosphere makes you philosophical about a lot of things, to question and analyse everything.
Colour and texture are key parts in any design process and when researching I always find myself looking into aggressive architecture. The grey, dull and harsh buildings that generally people hate, I love. I like my work to have a strong masculine approach and this visual imagery always helps to illustrate this. The Barbican is my favourite place in London – I think it’s voted one of the worst places in London or something, but I find it stunningly beautiful. There are lots of hidden pockets where you can just sit and be calm because it’s so quiet.
What do you believe sets your brand apart from others on the market?
Our pieces are completely unique; our use of silks, pleats and prints, usually seen in womenswear, are used in a strong masculine direction, therefore offering the modern man something new. Our take on the standard white shirt sees snippets of flesh when the elbow is moved, and we’re mad on T-shirts over shirts at the moment. We make everything within the UK and all of the fabric that we use is sustainable.
You are due to collaborate with British musician, Gold Panda – what prompted this?
We are collaborating at the moment; it’s been an on-going project since January and we will begin to release parts from August. Since starting out in the fashion industry, my personal work has always naturally had some form of orientation around music. Music influences my designs. Gold Panda’s Lucky Shiner was one of the first jointly-loved albums by Lux and I, and after seeing him live for the first time at Field Day 2012, we knew we would love to work with him.
Do you believe there is a connection between fashion and music, and how important is it to you and your brand?
Of course there is, there always has been, they complement each other and can be manipulated to help one another. It’s important for me to continue to explore the relationship for my enjoyment, my happiness and as my hobby. It’s important for L&N to continue to set the milestone to illustrate the healthy relationship that can be had between a designer and musician.
Why is it so important to you to consider your impact on resources and the environment?
Because if we don’t, who will? In my old job, every day I saw my colleagues make flippant decisions that, for us in the studio, makes us more money, but hugely impacts the environment, nature and people’s own lives. It’s been difficult to try and make everything sustainable and expensive to make in the UK, but to me it’s necessary.
Your designs are very minimalistic and slick. Where does the inspiration for this come from?
I find this hard to answer because it’s always been a natural outcome of my work. I’ve always hated over-branding and styling of products. Maybe my ethos I hold in everyday living comes through in my clothing: clean, simple and honest. I try to avoid using colour as I like the viewer’s attention to be focused on the silhouette. We like to work on specific features and develop them to perfection. Our T-shirts are joined by one single centre-back seam; it’s something so minor and simple but so noticeably exciting. It also cuts down on fabric wastage as the body is a single-pattern piece, as opposed to two.
Have you any favourite designers, or dream collaborations?
I’m obsessed with ACNE, A.P.C. Ports 1961 and Jil Sander. Let’s wait and see on the dream collaboration.
What are your hopes for the future and where do you see the brand going?
At the moment we’re bespoke made-to-order, but later this year we’re going to push forward with store sales. I want to continue to grow the brand as an example to similar companies that it’s possible to lead a sustainable path. I also want to branch into as many creative pathways as possible, not just clothing – I hate restrictions. Be unrealistic and hate realists.
Photos: Matthew Wilcox