Gareth Pugh Talking Fashion at the V&A

A couple of nights ago I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see designer Gareth Pugh in conversation with journalist and editor of SHOWstudio Lou Stoppard. It was very interesting and insight full, read on for some of the things they discussed. Pugh celebrated the 10th year anniversary of his brand and returned to the catwalk in London this season with his A/W15 collection.

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What does Gareth think…

…On the Englishness in his work

“You do what you can with what’s around you”

…On not selling out and being commercial

“It’s a fine line, you have to have the ability to say no. If it doesn’t make sense to me and ring true to what I want to achieve then why do it?”

…On the end game for him as a designer

“Let’s do it and make it exist for all the people involved and [the people] watching it.The way we’re set up is not to focus so much on the numbers. If it doesn’t excite me I’m not gonna do it.”

…On his aspirations as a child

“Chef but that didn’t work out and then dancer”

…On the costumes he did for the dancers for the Royal Opera House

“It gave me this whole new platform to play with. Negotiating with the Opera House and speaking with the dancers so that it’s not something challenging for them to wear.To see what you do in a totally new context on a new level.”

…On doing a fashion film instead of a show

“The first time we did it [with filmmaker Ruth Hogben] instead of a show we had to lie to the council [in Paris] and pretend it’s a show. We had to not tell anybody until it’s presented. [We did it] out of necessity, couldn’t do a show with the amount of clothes we had. They loved it in the end…People get caught in this idea of what a show is [talking about the photographers looking for the backstage area etc]. In the film people see what you want them to see. Like film and theatre I guess…You have to fight for it every season, why not do the most exciting thing.”

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Screenshot from his A/W 09 collection, film by Ruth Hogbem

…On his way of operating differently to other designers

“There’s people who I respect and like and people who are only their work. We could have made different decisions but it’s important to me to be happy with what I’m doing. There’s a lot of greed.”

…On his brand living on

“It doesn’t occur to me, the need for my brand to exist after me. It’s not a business plan of mine, you do things while you’re around…That’s our business plan, we don’t have one really. You think ‘it’s been 10 years’ [being] in the studio making things is what I’m all about. Our team is three people in London.”

…On the reality and expectation of being a designer

“In the beginning the reality and expectation are close, after 10 years there’s a huge gulf. People go to fashion college expecting to become a different person. CSM made me rely on myself and do it myself.”

…On the MA Fashion and Louise Wilson

“I couldn’t do the MA, couldn’t afford it. Louise was sarcastic but got the job done. The BA was make do and mend and on the MA you discovered yourself as a designer.”

…On being inspired by and compared to Leigh Bowery

“I don’t find comparisons with Leigh Bowery offensive, I’m not inspired [by him]. I’m my own worst critic, I have to define who I am. McQueen was one of the reasons I started doing what I do.”

…On people understanding his work

“I tend not to think about things too much. Let go of the baby into the world. I have to be fine with that. People who get it I have a lot of affinity with. People that don’t, it’s fine, you can’t please everyone.”

…On legacy

“Not really [thinking about legacy]…Having the ability to ‘speak’ to people in a different way through visual. If we didn’t have art and design, what would we be.”

…On changing his idea about fashion since he started

“I feel I’ve come full circle. You start and the grass is always greener on the other side. [I] have the best thing I could ask for, because it comes from me and makes me happy doing it. It’s not to be a legend, live in the moment and produce things that me and other people find challenging, beautiful or ugly. It’s a composition, it’s what I do.”

You can now watch the full interview online on SHOWstudio.

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The Sunday Times Style magazine, shot by Nick Knight

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Photo credit: Courtesy of SHOWstudio

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