21 posts tagged "Thomas Tait"
Twenty-four designers, including Thomas Tait (pictured), J. JS Lee, and Palmer//Harding’s Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, are in New York today as part of London Show Rooms’ 48-hour showcase to attract more interest in U.K. labels and bring attention to the debut of London Collections: Men (June 15 to 17). The inaugural men’s program will officially launch with a reception at St. James’s Palace hosted by the Prince of Wales.
Tait, the young designer who took home the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize award in 2010, has been steadily increasing his U.S. presence ever since. Most recently, the Canadian-born designer reports, he collaborated with pro skateboarder Keith Hufnagel, creating a collection of limited-edition baseball hats for his Huf line, in addition to teaming up with Cutler & Gross on a capsule collection and consulting for a major U.S. brand (a name he can’t yet reveal).
For Fall, Thomas Tait is feeling the need for stability. “I think it’s just a reaction, when you’re starting up a company, in fashion or not,” the designer said at a preview before his show tomorrow. “There’re a lot of insecurities financially so I just felt a need for stability in my life, and I could see that happening in the clothes. Everything needs to feel ready: put it on, no fuss no muss, reliable.” Even the color palette reflects the mood. “I wanted realistic colors, almost common. I needed to see everything clearly. I was thinking about moss a lot—not as in Kate, but actual moss.” There’s a deep mustard yellow—in the mid-calf leather boots Tait has designed for the first time—as well as olive green, navy, black, pops of white, and a rich chocolate brown.
“It’s important to me to feel that every piece in the collection has reason to exist,” he says. “It’s really interesting, now that I’m selling the clothes, to hear what buyers have to say—things like, ‘She doesn’t show her arms above the elbow.’ I realize there’s a really deep psychological justification for buying! and I can understand that. So when I’m pattern-cutting and draping the initial shape, I’m constantly trying to remind myself what it feels like to be inside: Where’s the fabric weighing down on the body, where is it holding onto, what is it covering up, what is it not covering up. And it opens up so many opportunities to play with volume and proportion.”
London is renowned for its hotbed of young fashion talent. But it’s not easy for a new designer to build a successful brand. That’s where NEWGEN comes in. Since 2001, Topshop and the British Fashion Council have worked together on the NEWGEN initiative, which supports the city’s brightest emerging designers. The coveted sponsorship, which, in the past, has been awarded to the likes of Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, and Erdem, provides fledgling labels with financial support, a show or exhibition at fashion week, international exposure via the London Showrooms in Paris and New York, and essential mentoring. “I felt so honored! I told my mom right away!” says three-season NEWGEN recipient Thomas Tait of being awarded sponsorship last year. (A look from his first NEWGEN-sponsored show, for Fall ’11, is at left.) “Having the opportunity to speak with and receive feedback from some of the industry’s top experts has really opened my eyes to the importance of not only designing and presenting strong work but also developing a stable and respectable business,” he adds, noting that the business seminars, as well as access to the NEWGEN panel of industry experts, have been instrumental in his success. Simone Rocha, who was awarded sponsorship for the first time this year, concurs. “The industry expertise from the NEWGEN panel is invaluable. And being part of the London Showrooms in Paris has increased my sales internationally.”
Henry Holland, who won sponsorship from 2008 to 2010, offers, “In many ways, I think NEWGEN sponsorship enabled us to continue showing whilst the label was in its infancy. For all young brands and designers, every penny counts, so the financial support is crucial. And it really helps to have that little extra recognition to spotlight your show.” David Koma, who’s been awarded sponsorship for the fourth season in a row, says the initiative has helped him to grow brand awareness. “At the early stage of my brand’s growth, NEWGEN provided business and mentoring support through the BFC, which is extremely helpful. And for a young designer, a show at London fashion week and the showrooms in Paris are fantastic platforms. Without these opportunities, it’s almost impossible to be introduced to press, buyers, and the public around the world.”
The grateful designers are taking the opportunity of the decade anniversary to give back, too. In celebration, Topshop has commissioned 21 NEWGEN recipients past and present, including Gareth Pugh, Jonathan Saunders, and Michael van der Ham, to design limited-edition T-shirts, available online and in U.K. stores now.
Fifteen emerging designers, including Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, and Christopher Raeburn, were announced by the British Fashion Council today as winners of its NEWGEN sponsorship. The designers, who follow in the footsteps of alumni like Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders, and Christopher Kane, will receive support from the Topshop-sponsored program to show at London fashion week in February 2012. They will also be a part of NEWGEN’s ten-year anniversary celebrations set for February. To see the full list of winners, visit the BFC’s Web site.
Some arena-playing rock bands travel less than young London’s designers. Those blessed by the British Fashion Council as part of the roving London Showrooms coterie have been on a whistle-stop world tour of late, hitting Paris, Hong Kong, L.A., and now, finally, New York, where they set up shop this morning to show their Spring wares to U.S.-based editors and buyers. To judge from the group assembled—including James Long, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, Holly Fulton, Louise Gray, Marios Schwab, and milliner Nasir Mazhar—the journey may have tired them, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Almost every designer queried revealed he or she had picked up international stockists along the way; among the city’s reigning favorites, Long and Anderson drew the most attention, but even the youngest in the crowd can now boast increased U.S. visibility. Central Saint Martins grad Simone Rocha, who showed her first solo outing this Spring after a few seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, now sells her vintage-lace dresses, fluoro tulle sheer layering skirts, and plastic raincoats at Opening Ceremony. Craig Lawrence, a 2011 NEWGEN winner who showed loose-weave knits and cropped, elasticized jumpers, is at several Henry Beguelin locations. Interested buyers were swarming, suggesting more reach is at hand for many present.
New categories and techniques were on display, too. Jeweler and sculptor Jordan Askill introduced pieces with ethical amethyst, sourced from a mine in Zambia, which he worked into silver pieces with his trademark swallows (below left). (A giant swallow cuff, which opened to reveal a hidden compartment, blurred the line between his two pursuits.) Also in the new collection were his first fine-jewelry pieces, with tiny diamonds surrounding a faceted, hand-carved swallow pendant. Holly Fulton had begun working with mother-of-pearl for accessories and real seashells for statement-making jackets; the trick, she confided, is finding shells of uniform shape. Tait, whose finely wrought, voluminous pieces suggest Couture shapes, had a surprising new footwear collaboration: a set of crisscrossed trainers he designed with Nike. (He was wearing a pair himself, as was a model; he had no plans to produce them, he revealed, but persistent interest on the part of buyers may change all that.) And Sibling’s Cozette McCreery was on hand to show off her knitwear label’s first official women’s line, Sister by Sibling. Women had been ordering small men’s sizes for so long, she said, that she and her co-designers, Sid Bryan and Joe Bates, decided finally to cut and knit for them. They were cropped neon and sequin leopard tops (left) and two complementary, sweatshirt-style sweaters emblazoned with the words LOVE and HATE. They’d sold, she said, about evenly, though she expected more interest in LOVE. Call it a knitted insight into the human race.