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September 2 2014

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Charlotte Stockdale Talks Exploring Fashion and Her Gig at Garage

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Garage

Last October, British stylist Charlotte Stockdale announced she was leaving her post at i-D, a pillar of British street and underground fashion, and joining Garage magazine as its fashion director. The über-cool stylist’s first efforts for Dasha Zhukova’s biannual art and fashion mag were unveiled today, when issue six hit newsstands. Garage gave us an exclusive first look at its Nick Knight-lensed covers (above), which feature Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne. As evidenced by Garage‘s new snaps, Stockdale can seamlessly transition between high-gloss and grit—a skill that no doubt came in handy during her stints at Dazed & Confused and Harper’s Bazaar, and while styling shows for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Fendi. She’s worked with Karl Lagerfeld on the latter’s runway looks and campaigns for the last five years. Here, Style.com caught up with Stockdale to talk about the state of British fashion, leaving i-D, and her vision for Garage.

What drew you to Garage?
Everything about it. I remember the first issue coming out and thinking it was something different, courageous, seriously beautiful, and sometimes quite shocking. It’s not safe and it’s incredibly sophisticated. I talked on and off with Dasha about shooting for her, but it never worked because I was too busy with i-D. Then we met for tea after the summer—I was quite relaxed from holiday—and she said she was looking into a fashion director, and obviously that evolved into a conversation.

Did you feel that i-D was no longer those things—courageous, shocking, and beautiful? Is that why you left?
No, that’s not why I left. Not in the slightest. I enjoy conceptual fashion, and there isn’t a lot of space left for it anymore. Garage is a venue where conceptual fashion is still the right thing. When I started at Dazed & Confused at the beginning, conceptual fashion was the thing. I like exploring it on multilayers, not just mixing jackets and trousers for a good picture.

And how does that translate in terms of your vision for this magazine?
I would like to keep a delicate mix of sophisticated and playful. Humor is very important, but it can’t be silly, and beauty is really important. The art content is serious. I don’t mean serious in a way that it is not amusing. Some of it is very amusing, but they put in heavyweights. The fashion needs to balance that out. I love working with the stylish photographers and new photographers and new designers. So far, most of them are saying “yes.”

On the subject of new designers, who are you particularly excited about right now in London?
It sounds awfully predictable to say, but I am very interested in J.W. Anderson and Christopher Kane. London right now has finally hit its stride. There’s Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, etc., and they have all found this balance between creativity and the business, which are equally important. That wasn’t so much the case when I was young. Some succeeded and others didn’t—the balance wasn’t correct. I have seen so much talent leave Britain and move to other cities. We have always felt it was such a shame that these kids aren’t back at home building proper brands themselves.

How do you think this momentum with London fashion will progress in the next few seasons?
I think the momentum will continue. With Natalie Massenet at the helm of British Fashion Council, everything has stepped up a few notches. Obviously, she is a lady of no fear. These young designers all have solid bases, and they are building proper businesses. The month is a very crowded month, and it is pretty challenging for [fashion] people like ourselves. London used to be a three-day thing and you could miss it. Now it’s a solid five-day event full of high-class content. It is the most interesting fashion week aside from Paris.

Photos: Nick Knight

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