An interview with David Longshaw: creatively intriguing
What inspires you to start designing?
David Longshaw: For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a designer. At primary school I remember drawing branded sweaters, polos and teddys with a big DL on (I had a bit of a Ralph Lauren complex). Then at secondary school I became more interested in experimental designers ( the idea of being able to be so completely creative through clothing people, but also with the stores/shows/exhibitions being able to create a world that they can inhabit) and found out most of my favourite designers had studied at St Martins – so when I was about 15 years old I went to the open day and asked what I needed to do to get in and promptly did it (and some extras to make doubly sure I got in the first time).
How did your position at Alberta Ferretti help influence your design career?
From St Martins (BA hons) and the RCA (MA) I had developed my own creativity and style. What I learnt from working at Ferretti was the adaptation of that raw creativity and style into something wearable and desirable for women.
How do your illustrations and story-writing influence your designs?
It works differently each season, but often I create an animation or story that then inspires the look and feel of the collection for AW13-14. I created an animation “Painting Over Harry” to inspire my collection of the same name. In the animation Iris longs to live in the “glamorous days of black and white films”. And obsessed by the 1970s wedding of Princess Anne, she decorates her new home with images from that “magical day”. Wallpapering her home with 70s inspired patterns, Iris then has a change of heart (partly due to Harry informing her that the “magical day” ended in divorce) and decides that really the thing to do is paint everything black and white so it will look as chic as the black and white films she loves. Unfortunately for Harry, her pet bird, (well a sculpture she talks to and treats as a pet) this involves painting him too. The collection itself takes its nod from the mood and feel of the animation- with wallpaper prints (I created for the set) appearing on the garments. Even Iris’s dickey that she wears in the animation is scaled up and recreated for the collection. Luxury printed silks and lace are juxtaposed with neoprene and other contradictory fabrics. The prints and the garments depict Iris’s initial optimism for all things 70s through the use of colour, shape and silhouette – but with her own twist on events and style coming through. Later in the collection there is a darker more subtle side to the prints (depicting Iris’s yearning for the glamorous days of black and white films) but Iris being Iris, everything is not quite what it seems.
Are you influenced by any vintage eras when it comes to designing?
It constantly changes depending on the theme of my collection, but I often reference vintage with my own twist on it.
You seem to be very interested in texture, what inspires this?
How would you describe your brand?
Creatively intriguing. I want to design clothes that people love to wear, but also create a whole little world they can enter (through my animations/stories, etc.). The idea of this is that you can buy a dress or scarf and simply love the piece because of its cut, fabric and print, but if you want, there are layers of design and process (the stories and characters) you can then discover and enjoy, which helps build brand loyalty and for me opens up the possibility of fun, creative collaborations that people will enjoy.
Who do you think your designs appeal to?
The young and creative at heart, but they definitely don’t have to be any particular age or work in anything creative. People that love colour and detail.
What are your plans for the future and where do you see the brand going?
More frocks, more products, more drawings, more creative projects, more Maudes.
To find out more about the brand click here.
Follow him on Twitter here.