With London Fashion Week a distant memory, it is now important to reflect on some of Britain’s most exciting and innovative young designers. The McArthurGlen Spirit of Fashion Awards is designed to showcase and support some of these fashion newbies. Sponsored by the Royal College of Art, the three winners receive 12 months free PR representation and mentoring as well as the opportunity for their designs to be produced and sold directly to the consumer via McArthurGlen retail outlets.
Over the next three weeks, we here at Don’t Panic will be interviewing each of the three winners about: their latest collections, what it means to be a recipient of such a highly-regarded award and what the future holds for them as a designer.
First up is menswear maestro, Carolyn Massey, whose career is going from strength to strength. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, she launched her debut collection in Paris in 2006 and this September was sponsored for the third time by NEWGEN MEN and given the chance to show at London Fashion Week 2010.
So what does it mean to Massey to be chosen as the winner of the Spirit of Fashion Awards 2010? “It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with a professional and dedicated PR team, something a young designer can usually only dream about”, she says.
Her S/S 11 collection is inspired by two books – Un-Fashion by Tibor Kalman and Farm by Jackie Nickerson – and the natural attitude to masculine dressing they portray. Massey also incorporates ‘eastern elegance’ and ‘functional wrapping’ into her designs, allowing for quintessentially English tailoring with her signature unexpected design twists. This is reflected in her favourite fashion era – “I’d be Victorian, and insanely wealthy”. Massey’s designs reflect a true modern-dandy aesthetic represented by her use of high-quality materials and contemporary stylistic features.
When asked which was her standout piece from the new collection, Massey replied, “the outerwear is always key for me – there’s a really simple workman style jacket, that’s just perfect. I don’t think that very often, so it’s great to have a piece that I’m really proud of.” Knitwear plays a very prominent role in Massey’s designs and with a colour palette of cream, stone and mustard running alongside Indian ink, petrol blue and navy it allows her to play with proportion and shape, whilst in keeping with her minimalist design philosophy.
So what are the aspirations of a promising designer who has the world at her feet? “To be happy, and find some peace – it’s all a bit wonderfully torturing.”
Stockists: ASOS, Daniel Jenkins, Topman Oxford Circus (Carolyn Massey for Topman) and www.topman.com