FASHION FEATURE by NICOLA HALL

The amazing and completely fabulous Nicola Hall had this to say about….. ME

Sara Jasmine Wilson
“To design for men, you’ve got to think like a man” says ‘Luxury menswear’ designer Sara Jasmine Wilson. As a regular fashion blogger and visual merchandiser for high street giants Topman, Wilson is definitely not adverse to the idea of stepping into the metaphorical shoes – plausibly loafers – of the ‘fashionable man’.

Last summer she was selected as one of the 25 young designers from Northumbria University to flaunt her slick collection of chic soft-tailored suits, fluid fine-knit sweaters and lightweight cotton daywear on the runway of London’s Graduate Fashion Week. With hints of 1960s futurism and subtle echoes of Rei Kamakubo and Yohji Yamomoto’s cool 80’s Tokyo styling’s she channels her ‘inner bloke’ as a classic and sophisticated, yet suave, edgy eccentric.
“I wanted to create menswear that was feminine” says Wilson, 22 who describes her own style as grungy ‘tomboy casual’.

Whilst most women would love to immerse themselves into the frightening world of what men are really thinking, Wilson had to almost infiltrate the internal psyche of the ‘image conscious gentleman’ in order to legitimately understand what men would really want out of their clothes;
“Men think about different things to women – they tend to look at detail such as the patterns and fabrics, things like buttons and pockets” she rationalizes, when recalling how she seized menswear as an opportunity to ‘reach outside the box’;

“It’s harder because you’re more restricted and there’s more to think about” she explains; “I had to look at the points a man would look at – with designing for men it’s a case of what they would want whereas when women design for women they usually create thing’s they like”

Having interned for some of the key players in menswear such as luxury leather-smith Alfred Dunhill and Norwegian designer Siv Stoldal – a designer who has collaborated in the past with Topman and Fred Perry – she hastily got to grips with her male market, also covering men’s A/W 2010 Fashion Week in Paris on NOTJUSTALABEL.COM.

Originally from Blackpool, Wilson attributes her best skills as her technical abilities and pattern making. However, Wilson has recently taken to favouring the role of the stylist having done so last year for GQ magazine as well as theatrical costume company ‘Stageworks’ and playing assistant to fashionista friend Nova Dando. Aside from creating pieces for Russia’s 2010 Fashion week at Nova she also got to dress alternative new rave four piece The Klaxons and US garage rockers The Gossip for a music video as well as adorning synth-pop queen La Roux for a photo shoot with FLAUNT magazine.


Wilson is breezy, relaxed and nonchalant when she speaks of how fashion became less of a job for her and more of a lifestyle which in turn, mirrors her ‘chilled out’ inclination to dressing in boys’ oversized sweaters, short shorts and high-top trainers. She also has a penchant for fusing theatrical costume with urban street-wear and doesn’t seem to be too preoccupied with stereotypical pop culture style icons, instead taking most of her inspiration from things and people she sees on the street.

She openly cites the 1980s New Romantics and ‘the Norwegian fashion boys’ she met whilst working at Siv Stoldal as her references for a dramatic Euro-East Asian look that is aimed at ‘the European and Japanese high fashion markets’. She reveals that her ultimate muse was friend, Harald Helgesen who worked as Stoldal’s studio manager; “Those boys tend to buy one off pieces, they’re just your normal average boys but they’re so much more daring and individualistic” she adds; “That’s the kind of people I want to dress”

Her initial ‘test-drive’ for the collection was an almost savage D.I.Y experiment which consisted of taking a male friend shopping and picking up whatever she could find before hacking and chopping away to create new shapes.
“He just put on the clothes and I took a pair of scissors to them and started cutting” she says.

Originally intending to become an English teacher, she planned to study a degree in Fine Art before concluding that a career in fashion would be more accessible than grappling with the fraught art industry. Her artistic background however, is what won her place in London and her pieces have a distinct air of ‘wearable artwork’;
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted at first….” she muses “…but then I did Paris Fashion week in my third year and that’s what really influenced me to go for it”
Her voluminous garments appear almost genderless as she flaunts a selection of ‘feminine cuts’ for the masculine form. They hint a perfect wearability for Euro-city rooftop parties on breezy summer evenings by use of fine, lightweight organically sourced materials that would usually be found in the most fragile of feminine wardrobe’s; chiffons, screen-printed silks, cashmere, wool-blends for her suits and barely-there cottons for her casuals.
“They’re natural and just have a much nicer handle to them” she enthuses. “I think my favorite piece is the double breasted grey suit”

Demonstrating her skills with ‘super 130’ bespoke tailoring and fusion of Eastern and Western styles, the suit jacket vaguely resembles a very modern, high end version of a Japanese ‘jinbei’ night-coat. She also layers her garments to create depth and texture with sheer work-shirts and body stockings. A notable highlight is her mottled silk collarless ‘hooded jacket’ which is worn over an exquisite translucent one-piece button-up overall and paired with a deep red spandex-like body stocking glaring out from beneath, brandished with an ornate east-Asian style flock-print in blood orange.

She has orchestrated a mostly muted palette of neutral tones – subdued
greys and blacks, fawn and beige – juxtaposing them with block colours of rich reds, icy eggshell blues and even a vest and loose cotton shorts that mix shades of pastel lime and acidic greens. These give a pungent pop of colour to the otherwise subtle compilation giving it a fresh, exuberant edge. Wilson also experimented with different textiles and methods using digital prints, screen prints on silk and devoré – where the fabric has the pattern scorched into it – in order to give her desired look a unique spin.

The original four-piece collection which was woefully funded by Wilson’s student loan and overdraft; “I owe a lot of money!” she laughs, had to be expanded to a six-piece when Wilson was selected for London, with only two weeks for completion;


“Those two weeks were so stressful! I was still sewing my outfits ten minutes before they went down the catwalk” she recalls “But it was really exciting, there was definitely a buzz that day”. She praised her models for doing such an ‘amazing job’ in doing her clothes justice also adding that that she always ‘keeps them in mind’ when designing. She also is quick to point out how she’d much rather dress models over celebrity clientele to really make her clothes striking as possible. Her eclectic collection was also later nominated for the Gold Award at Fashion week and although a womenswear collection was selected as the winner, Wilson proudly walked away last summer with a First Class degree.

“I’d done so much research beforehand that by the time it came to planning our final collection’s I just had files upon files of stuff – I just brought it all in this huge suitcase” she says of the dedication and laboured effort she put into her work;
“I think I have a lot of passion for it”

Wilson delved deep for her influences and was not afraid to push boundaries; “I looked into a lot of social issues to inspire me – thing’s like drug misuse, politics, even the KKK” she confesses.
Oddly, the notion of ‘hooded deviants’ and ‘masked social menaces’ seems to incorporate ironically as she pairs a selection of her quirky outfits with mesh veils that sit over the mouth and chin, like an extremely avante garde fencing mask or, dare I say, balaclava – not to mention the cowl-hoods that drape over the head and neck giving the wearer a mysterious allure. The Japanese influenced silhouette’s and calf length slim line trousers also don’t feel too dissimilar to luxuriously executed martial art uniforms.

The concealed faces also hark to Wilsons exploration of 19th century circus and discusses how she attended shows across the country to take in the costumes as part of her research, as well as delving into the Madeleine Vionnet photographs and archives of the Blythe House Rooms;

“I am to create a collection that takes the sinister fun from an 18th century clown and use it to inspire a dramatic and sophisticated menswear story” she illustrates in her philosophy brief, to which she also likens her work to that of innovative Belgian street wear designer Raf Simons;
“He also uses a lot of tailoring and we have similar markets but he works with different fabrics” she explains.
Working as a costume intern at Stageworks allowed Wilson to freely negotiate with the glitzy stage-wear which is ever-allowing more boundaries to be crossed when it came to ‘rhinestones’.

“I’d love to do high-end theatrical styling, it’s much more free and crazy – using feathers and crystals – it’s amazing” she declares.

The patterns used in her collection do have a ‘cirque du soleil’ feel, with some of the pieces loosely channeling the theatrical venetian masks Wilson noted when searching for ideas;

“I looked at a lot at the Japanese and European markets mainly and saw how creative the Scandinavians were with menswear” she says knowledgably. She also took her style cues from European designers like ‘fashion rule-breaker’ Bernhard Willhelm, Damir Doma – whose ethereal drapery focuses on the body and ‘individual identity’ and also from former Central St. Martins student Henrik Vibskov whose out-of-this-world fashion-art projects have made him one of the most exciting young designers in the industry.

“European designers are much more experimental” she adds, “Though if you look at GQ now men’s fashion in the UK is getting more exciting – there’s a lot of heritage stuff going on at the moment, I’m into the ‘cool hunter’ kind of look”.
Wilson greatly believes that men’s fashion should be talked about just as much as women’s but when questioned about whether she feels British men would ever take to more ‘out-there’ styling’s she is quick to point out that “English men are becoming a lot more involved’

“Just look at the whole British heritage thing, it’s a huge trend at the moment.” she beams, which also suggests that maybe men are heading towards the ‘revolution’ that Wilson is putting her faith into.

“The other day I was walking down the high street and saw these two guys in high-viz jackets and chunky knits. It sounds so weird but they looked great, especially with the colours. I’m always inspired by thing’s like that when I see on people in the street”


However, she does mention how she’d like to see ‘funkier patterns’ on the high street; “’I’m so sick of plaid! I mean, come on!”

Though Wilson has put her designing on hold in favour of styling for now, she is hoping that she will eventually be able to fund her desire to one day work from her own warehouse because she ‘prefers having a bit of control’. She has also flirted with the idea of perhaps attempting womenswear;
“It’d have to be androgynous” she clarifies; “Not too dissimilar from my menswear but a bit more commercial and ready-to-wear”.
Judging by the young designers flawless technical skills, this idea becoming a reality may not be too distant;
“The best advice I was ever given was by my friend Nila” – she says of Nila Mistry, who is now working at Viktor and Rolf.

“I was critiqued and given all sorts of advice about my first collection because I was told some of the things didn’t work” she says fondly, “but she said to me ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if you believe in it just do it”.

 

Sara Jasmine Wilson

“To design for men, you’ve got to think like a man” says ‘Luxury menswear’ designer Sara Jasmine Wilson. As a regular fashion blogger and visual merchandiser for high street giants Topman, Wilson is definitely not adverse to the idea of stepping into the metaphorical shoes – plausibly loafers – of the ‘fashionable man’.


Last summer she was selected as one of the 25 young designers from Northumbria University to flaunt her slick collection of chic soft-tailored suits, fluid fine-knit sweaters and lightweight cotton daywear on the runway of London’s Graduate Fashion Week. With hints of 1960s futurism and subtle echoes of Rei Kamakubo and Yohji Yamomoto’s cool 80’s Tokyo styling’s she channels her ‘inner bloke’ as a classic and sophisticated, yet suave, edgy eccentric.
“I wanted was to create menswear that was feminine” says Wilson, 22 who describes her own style and grungy ‘tomboy casual’.

Whilst most women would love to immerse themselves into the frightening world of what men are really thinking, Wilson had to almost infiltrate the internal psyche of the ‘image conscious gentleman’ in order to legitimately understand what men would really want out of their clothes ;
“Men think about different things to women – they tend to look at detail such as the patterns and fabrics, things like buttons and pockets” she rationalizes, when recalling how she seized menswear as an opportunity to ‘reach outside the box’;

“It’s harder because you’re more restricted and there’s more to think about” she explains; “I had to look at the points a man would look at – with designing for men it’s a case of what they would want whereas when women design for women they usually create thing’s they like”

Having interned for some of the key players in menswear such as luxury leather-smith Alfred Dunhill and Norwegian designer Siv Stoldal – a designer who has collaborated in the past with Topman and Fred Perry – she hastily got to grips with her male market, also covering men’s A/W 2010 Fashion Week in Paris on NOTJUSTALABEL.COM – which regularly publishes her fashion reviews.

Originally from Blackpool, Wilson attributes her best skills as her technical abilities and pattern making. However, Wilson has recently taken to favouring the role of the stylist having done so last year for GQ magazine as well as theatrical costume company ‘Stageworks’ and playing assistant to fashionista friend Nova Dando. Aside from creating pieces for Russia’s 2010 Fashion week at Nova she also got to dress alternative new rave four piece The Klaxons and US garage rockers The Gossip for a music video as well as adorning synth-pop queen La Roux for a photo shoot with FLAUNT magazine.

Wilson is breezy, relaxed and nonchalant when she speaks of how fashion became less of a job for her and more of a lifestyle which in turn, mirrors her ‘chilled out’ inclination to dressing in boys’ oversized sweaters, short shorts and high-top trainers. She also has a penchant for fusing theatrical costume with urban street-wear and doesn’t seem to be too preoccupied with stereotypical pop culture style icons, instead taking most of her inspiration from things and people she sees on the street.

She openly cites the 1980s New Romantics and ‘the Norwegian fashion boys’ she met whilst working at Siv Stoldal as her references for a dramatic Euro-East Asian look that is aimed at ‘the European and Japanese high fashion markets’. She reveals that her ultimate muse was friend, Harald Helgesem who worked as Stoldal’s studio manager; “Those boys tend to buy one off pieces, they’re just your normal average boys but they’re so much more daring and individualistic” she adds; “That’s the kind of people I want to dress”

Her initial ‘test-drive’ for the collection was an almost savage D.I.Y experiment which consisted of taking a male friend shopping and picking up whatever she could find before hacking and chopping away to create new shapes.
“He just put on the clothes and I took a pair of scissors to them and started cutting” she says.

Originally intending to become an English teacher, she planned to study a degree in Fine Art before concluding that a career in fashion would be more accessible than grappling with the fraught art industry. Her artistic background however, is what won her place in London and her pieces have a distinct air of ‘wearable artwork’;
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted at first….” she muses “…but then I did Paris Fashion week in my third year and that’s what really influenced me to go for it”
Her voluminous garments appear almost genderless as she flaunts a selection of ‘feminine cuts’ for the masculine form. They hint a perfect wearability for Euro-city rooftop parties on breezy summer evenings by use of fine, lightweight organically sourced materials that would usually be found in the most fragile of feminine wardrobe’s; chiffons, screen-printed silks, cashmere, wool-blends for her suits and barely-there cottons for her casuals.
“They’re natural and just have a much nicer handle to them” she enthuses. “I think my favorite piece is the double breasted grey suit”

Demonstrating her skills with ‘super 130’ bespoke tailoring and fusion of Eastern and Western styles, the suit jacket vaguely resembles a very modern, high end version of a Japanese ‘jinbei’ night-coat. She also layers her garments to create depth and texture with sheer work-shirts and body stockings. A notable highlight is her mottled silk collarless ‘hooded jacket’ which is worn over an exquisite translucent one-piece button-up overall and paired with a deep red spandex-like body stocking glaring out from beneath, brandished with an ornate east-Asian style flock-print in blood orange.

She has orchestrated a mostly muted palette of neutral tones – subdued
greys and blacks, fawn and beige – juxtaposing them with block colours of rich reds, icy eggshell blues and even a vest and loose cotton shorts that mix shades of pastel lime and acidic greens. These give a pungent pop of colour to the otherwise subtle compilation giving it a fresh, exuberant edge. Wilson also experimented with different textiles and methods using digital prints, screen prints on silk and devoré – where the fabric has the pattern scorched into it – in order to give her desired look a unique spin.

The original four-piece collection which was woefully funded by Wilson’s student loan and overdraft; “I owe a lot of money!” she laughs, had to be expanded to a six-piece when Wilson was selected for London, with only two weeks for completion;


“Those two weeks were so stressful! I was still sewing my outfits ten minutes before they went down the catwalk” she recalls “But it was really exciting, there was definitely a buzz that day”. She praised her models for doing such an ‘amazing job’ in doing her clothes justice also adding that that she always ‘keeps them in mind’ when designing. She also is quick to point out how she’d much rather dress models over celebrity clientele to really make her clothes striking as possible. Her eclectic collection was also later nominated for the Gold Award at Fashion week and although a womenswear collection was selected as the winner, Wilson proudly walked away last summer with a First Class degree.


“I’d done so much research beforehand that by the time it came to planning our final collection’s I just had files upon files of stuff – I just brought it all in this huge suitcase” she says of the dedication and laboured effort she put into her work;
“I think I have a lot of passion for it”

Wilson delved deep for her influences and was not afraid to push boundaries; “I looked into a lot of social issues to inspire me – thing’s like drug misuse, politics, even the KKK” she confesses.
Oddly, the notion of ‘hooded deviants’ and ‘masked social menaces’ seems to incorporate ironically as she pairs a selection of her quirky outfits with mesh veils that sit over the mouth and chin like an extremely avante garde fencing mask or, dare I say, balaclava – not to mention the cowl-hoods that drape over the head and neck giving the wearer a mysterious allure. The Japanese influenced silhouette’s and calf length slim line trousers also don’t feel too dissimilar to luxuriously executed martial art uniforms.

The concealed faces also hark to Wilsons also exploration of 19th century circus and discusses how she attended shows across the country to take in the costumes as part of her research, as well as delving into the Madeleine Vionnet photographs and archives of Blythe House Rooms;

“I am to create a collection that takes the sinister fun from an 18th century clown and use it to inspire a dramatic and sophisticated menswear story” she illustrates in her philosophy brief, to which she also likens her work to that of innovative Belgian street wear designer Raf Simons;
“He also uses a lot of tailoring and we have similar markets but he works with different fabrics” she explains.
. Working as a costume intern at Stageworks allowed Wilson to freely negotiate with the glitzy stage-wear which is ever-allowing more boundaries to be crossed when it came to ‘rhinestones’.

“I’d love to do high-end theatrical styling, it’s much more free and crazy – using feathers and crystals – it’s amazing” she declares.

The patterns used in her collection do have a ‘cirque du soleil’ feel, with some of the pieces loosely channeling the theatrical venetian masks Wilson noted when searching for ideas;

“I looked at a lot at the Japanese and European markets mainly and saw how creative the Scandinavians were with menswear” she says knowledgably. She also took her style cues from European designers like ‘fashion rule-breaker’ Bernhard Willhelm, Damir Doma – whose ethereal drapery focuses on the body and ‘individual identity’ and also from former Central St. Martins student Henrik Vibskov whose out-of-this-world fashion-art projects have made him one of the most exciting young designers in the industry.

“European designers are much more experimental” she adds, “Though if you look at GQ now men’s fashion in the UK is getting more exciting – there’s a lot of heritage stuff going on at the moment, I’m into the ‘cool hunter’ kind of look”.
Wilson greatly believes that men’s fashion should be talked about just as much as women’s but when questioned about whether she feels British men would ever take to more ‘out-there’ styling’s she is quick to point out that “English men are becoming a lot more involved’

“Just look at the whole British heritage thing, it’s a huge trend at the moment.” she beams, which also suggests that maybe men are heading towards the ‘revolution’ that Wilson is putting her faith into.

“The other day I was walking down the high street and saw these two guys in high-viz jackets and chunky knits. It sounds so weird but they looked great, especially with the colours. I’m always inspired by thing’s like that when I see on people in the street”


However, she does mention how she’d like to see ‘funkier patterns’ on the high street; “’I’m so sick of plaid! I mean, come on!”

Though Wilson has put her designing on hold in favour of styling for now, she is hoping that she will eventually be able to fund her desire to one day work from her own warehouse because she ‘prefers having a bit of control’. She has also flirted with the idea of perhaps attempting womenswear;
“It’d have to be androgynous” she clarifies; “Not too dissimilar from my menswear but a bit more commercial and ready-to-wear”.
Judging by the young designers flawless technical skills, this idea becoming a reality may not be too distant;
“The best advice I was ever given was by my friend Nila” – she says of Nila Mistry, who is now working at Viktor and Rolf.

“I was critiqued and given all sorts of advice about my first collection because I was told some of the things didn’t work” she says fondly, “but she said to me ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if you believe in it just do it”.
 

Sara Jasmine Wilson

“To design for men, you’ve got to think like a man” says ‘Luxury menswear’ designer Sara Jasmine Wilson. As a regular fashion blogger and visual merchandiser for high street giants Topman, Wilson is definitely not adverse to the idea of stepping into the metaphorical shoes – plausibly loafers – of the ‘fashionable man’.


Last summer she was selected as one of the 25 young designers from Northumbria University to flaunt her slick collection of chic soft-tailored suits, fluid fine-knit sweaters and lightweight cotton daywear on the runway of London’s Graduate Fashion Week. With hints of 1960s futurism and subtle echoes of Rei Kamakubo and Yohji Yamomoto’s cool 80’s Tokyo styling’s she channels her ‘inner bloke’ as a classic and sophisticated, yet suave, edgy eccentric.
“I wanted was to create menswear that was feminine” says Wilson, 22 who describes her own style and grungy ‘tomboy casual’.

Whilst most women would love to immerse themselves into the frightening world of what men are really thinking, Wilson had to almost infiltrate the internal psyche of the ‘image conscious gentleman’ in order to legitimately understand what men would really want out of their clothes ;
“Men think about different things to women – they tend to look at detail such as the patterns and fabrics, things like buttons and pockets” she rationalizes, when recalling how she seized menswear as an opportunity to ‘reach outside the box’;

“It’s harder because you’re more restricted and there’s more to think about” she explains; “I had to look at the points a man would look at – with designing for men it’s a case of what they would want whereas when women design for women they usually create thing’s they like”

Having interned for some of the key players in menswear such as luxury leather-smith Alfred Dunhill and Norwegian designer Siv Stoldal – a designer who has collaborated in the past with Topman and Fred Perry – she hastily got to grips with her male market, also covering men’s A/W 2010 Fashion Week in Paris on NOTJUSTALABEL.COM – which regularly publishes her fashion reviews.

Originally from Blackpool, Wilson attributes her best skills as her technical abilities and pattern making. However, Wilson has recently taken to favouring the role of the stylist having done so last year for GQ magazine as well as theatrical costume company ‘Stageworks’ and playing assistant to fashionista friend Nova Dando. Aside from creating pieces for Russia’s 2010 Fashion week at Nova she also got to dress alternative new rave four piece The Klaxons and US garage rockers The Gossip for a music video as well as adorning synth-pop queen La Roux for a photo shoot with FLAUNT magazine.

Wilson is breezy, relaxed and nonchalant when she speaks of how fashion became less of a job for her and more of a lifestyle which in turn, mirrors her ‘chilled out’ inclination to dressing in boys’ oversized sweaters, short shorts and high-top trainers. She also has a penchant for fusing theatrical costume with urban street-wear and doesn’t seem to be too preoccupied with stereotypical pop culture style icons, instead taking most of her inspiration from things and people she sees on the street.

She openly cites the 1980s New Romantics and ‘the Norwegian fashion boys’ she met whilst working at Siv Stoldal as her references for a dramatic Euro-East Asian look that is aimed at ‘the European and Japanese high fashion markets’. She reveals that her ultimate muse was friend, Harald Helgesem who worked as Stoldal’s studio manager; “Those boys tend to buy one off pieces, they’re just your normal average boys but they’re so much more daring and individualistic” she adds; “That’s the kind of people I want to dress”

Her initial ‘test-drive’ for the collection was an almost savage D.I.Y experiment which consisted of taking a male friend shopping and picking up whatever she could find before hacking and chopping away to create new shapes.
“He just put on the clothes and I took a pair of scissors to them and started cutting” she says.

Originally intending to become an English teacher, she planned to study a degree in Fine Art before concluding that a career in fashion would be more accessible than grappling with the fraught art industry. Her artistic background however, is what won her place in London and her pieces have a distinct air of ‘wearable artwork’;
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted at first….” she muses “…but then I did Paris Fashion week in my third year and that’s what really influenced me to go for it”
Her voluminous garments appear almost genderless as she flaunts a selection of ‘feminine cuts’ for the masculine form. They hint a perfect wearability for Euro-city rooftop parties on breezy summer evenings by use of fine, lightweight organically sourced materials that would usually be found in the most fragile of feminine wardrobe’s; chiffons, screen-printed silks, cashmere, wool-blends for her suits and barely-there cottons for her casuals.
“They’re natural and just have a much nicer handle to them” she enthuses. “I think my favorite piece is the double breasted grey suit”

Demonstrating her skills with ‘super 130’ bespoke tailoring and fusion of Eastern and Western styles, the suit jacket vaguely resembles a very modern, high end version of a Japanese ‘jinbei’ night-coat. She also layers her garments to create depth and texture with sheer work-shirts and body stockings. A notable highlight is her mottled silk collarless ‘hooded jacket’ which is worn over an exquisite translucent one-piece button-up overall and paired with a deep red spandex-like body stocking glaring out from beneath, brandished with an ornate east-Asian style flock-print in blood orange.

She has orchestrated a mostly muted palette of neutral tones – subdued
greys and blacks, fawn and beige – juxtaposing them with block colours of rich reds, icy eggshell blues and even a vest and loose cotton shorts that mix shades of pastel lime and acidic greens. These give a pungent pop of colour to the otherwise subtle compilation giving it a fresh, exuberant edge. Wilson also experimented with different textiles and methods using digital prints, screen prints on silk and devoré – where the fabric has the pattern scorched into it – in order to give her desired look a unique spin.

The original four-piece collection which was woefully funded by Wilson’s student loan and overdraft; “I owe a lot of money!” she laughs, had to be expanded to a six-piece when Wilson was selected for London, with only two weeks for completion;


“Those two weeks were so stressful! I was still sewing my outfits ten minutes before they went down the catwalk” she recalls “But it was really exciting, there was definitely a buzz that day”. She praised her models for doing such an ‘amazing job’ in doing her clothes justice also adding that that she always ‘keeps them in mind’ when designing. She also is quick to point out how she’d much rather dress models over celebrity clientele to really make her clothes striking as possible. Her eclectic collection was also later nominated for the Gold Award at Fashion week and although a womenswear collection was selected as the winner, Wilson proudly walked away last summer with a First Class degree.


“I’d done so much research beforehand that by the time it came to planning our final collection’s I just had files upon files of stuff – I just brought it all in this huge suitcase” she says of the dedication and laboured effort she put into her work;
“I think I have a lot of passion for it”

Wilson delved deep for her influences and was not afraid to push boundaries; “I looked into a lot of social issues to inspire me – thing’s like drug misuse, politics, even the KKK” she confesses.
Oddly, the notion of ‘hooded deviants’ and ‘masked social menaces’ seems to incorporate ironically as she pairs a selection of her quirky outfits with mesh veils that sit over the mouth and chin like an extremely avante garde fencing mask or, dare I say, balaclava – not to mention the cowl-hoods that drape over the head and neck giving the wearer a mysterious allure. The Japanese influenced silhouette’s and calf length slim line trousers also don’t feel too dissimilar to luxuriously executed martial art uniforms.

The concealed faces also hark to Wilsons also exploration of 19th century circus and discusses how she attended shows across the country to take in the costumes as part of her research, as well as delving into the Madeleine Vionnet photographs and archives of Blythe House Rooms;

“I am to create a collection that takes the sinister fun from an 18th century clown and use it to inspire a dramatic and sophisticated menswear story” she illustrates in her philosophy brief, to which she also likens her work to that of innovative Belgian street wear designer Raf Simons;
“He also uses a lot of tailoring and we have similar markets but he works with different fabrics” she explains.
. Working as a costume intern at Stageworks allowed Wilson to freely negotiate with the glitzy stage-wear which is ever-allowing more boundaries to be crossed when it came to ‘rhinestones’.

“I’d love to do high-end theatrical styling, it’s much more free and crazy – using feathers and crystals – it’s amazing” she declares.

The patterns used in her collection do have a ‘cirque du soleil’ feel, with some of the pieces loosely channeling the theatrical venetian masks Wilson noted when searching for ideas;

“I looked at a lot at the Japanese and European markets mainly and saw how creative the Scandinavians were with menswear” she says knowledgably. She also took her style cues from European designers like ‘fashion rule-breaker’ Bernhard Willhelm, Damir Doma – whose ethereal drapery focuses on the body and ‘individual identity’ and also from former Central St. Martins student Henrik Vibskov whose out-of-this-world fashion-art projects have made him one of the most exciting young designers in the industry.

“European designers are much more experimental” she adds, “Though if you look at GQ now men’s fashion in the UK is getting more exciting – there’s a lot of heritage stuff going on at the moment, I’m into the ‘cool hunter’ kind of look”.
Wilson greatly believes that men’s fashion should be talked about just as much as women’s but when questioned about whether she feels British men would ever take to more ‘out-there’ styling’s she is quick to point out that “English men are becoming a lot more involved’

“Just look at the whole British heritage thing, it’s a huge trend at the moment.” she beams, which also suggests that maybe men are heading towards the ‘revolution’ that Wilson is putting her faith into.

“The other day I was walking down the high street and saw these two guys in high-viz jackets and chunky knits. It sounds so weird but they looked great, especially with the colours. I’m always inspired by thing’s like that when I see on people in the street”


However, she does mention how she’d like to see ‘funkier patterns’ on the high street; “’I’m so sick of plaid! I mean, come on!”

Though Wilson has put her designing on hold in favour of styling for now, she is hoping that she will eventually be able to fund her desire to one day work from her own warehouse because she ‘prefers having a bit of control’. She has also flirted with the idea of perhaps attempting womenswear;
“It’d have to be androgynous” she clarifies; “Not too dissimilar from my menswear but a bit more commercial and ready-to-wear”.
Judging by the young designers flawless technical skills, this idea becoming a reality may not be too distant;
“The best advice I was ever given was by my friend Nila” – she says of Nila Mistry, who is now working at Viktor and Rolf.

“I was critiqued and given all sorts of advice about my first collection because I was told some of the things didn’t work” she says fondly, “but she said to me ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if you believe in it just do it”.

 

 

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