London calling: Gareth Pugh on why there’s no place like home
London Fashion Week starts on Friday and the esteemed British designer Gareth Pugh has spoken to The Guardian about his love for the capital, from his Peckham art squat days to hustling like Del Boy.
“Ten years ago, I was selected last minute to take part in Fashion East. I had four weeks to create a collection from nothing. I never imagined I’d be creating my first show under those constraints, but I couldn’t say no. In the end it was an amazing experience, making it through the chaos and producing something I could be proud of.
At the time, my studio was a disused gym in a squat in Peckham, part of the !WOWOW! collective. It was a huge building incorporating an old tile warehouse, a nightclub, a theatre, an evangelical baptist church and my studio in the gym.
I’ve shown in Paris since September 2008, but I always felt like a tourist. Getting there was a mission – bundling all our boxes and bags into an Addison Lee to get the Eurostar, then fighting for luggage space. Stressful doesn’t cover it. Then in Paris, you’re dropped at a prep space and start to work. You don’t see daylight for three days and have no clear idea of where you are or where to go if you run out of thread. It can be quite fraught.
Last season we showed in New York, which was different again. I had been offered an opportunity to do whatever I wanted – which was incredible – but it still felt foreign. So this season I decided to bring the show home.
Although I’ve lived and worked here since starting college, London changed a great deal in the seven years I showed elsewhere. For one thing, its fashion week is more professional now, and taken more seriously internationally. The British Fashion Council is very supportive of young designers and gives them more business knowledge. When I was a student, you simply weren’t taught business. I wish some of it had been explained to me when I started out as it’s important to know how to monetise some of the opportunities that arise.
I’m never totally happy with a collection or a show – I always want to improve. I might get a bit more sleep now, but I attack things with the same ferocity I did 10 years ago. You need to have a fire in your belly.”
Gareth Pugh is exclusive to 4.
Read the full post on The Guardian.