An Interview With David Longshaw

David Longshaw SS '11

Upon graduating from London’s RCA in 2007 with a masters degree in womenswear, David Longshaw has received copious award nominations, worked for the prestigious Italian design houses, Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti, and debuted his label at our very own ‘Ones to Watch’ last season with his AW ‘10 collection entitled ‘Escaping Emily.’ For this season David will once again be gracing us with his presence, this time at the VFS Paris showroom, commencing Thursday 30th September. In between his well-received SS ‘11 showcase in London and his forthcoming display in Paris, David took time to tell me about his success since Ones To Watch, the story behind his latest collection and his future plans and aspirations...

How has your womenswear label progressed since showing as one of Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s ‘One’s To Watch’ last season?
I won the BFC/ELLE Talent Launch Pad, which has been great for helping raise my profile  (and it was nice seeing Helena Christensen in one of my dresses in ELLE!) I've also found that more stores have been getting in touch since hearing about my win, so hopefully I should have some exciting new stockists for my S/S ‘11 collection.

You create whimsical stories as inspiration behind your collections; tell me a bit of the story behind your SS ‘11 collection?
‘Shaz! Shaz! over 'ere, look at this prick with all the  ruffles and shit on. Na, I bet I’d look well boss in that!’ 
It’s summer and a group of hoodies, bored and with nothing in particular to do, have broken into a stately home. With good intentions of petty vandalism and theft, they are distracted by the period costumes on display. They start to dress up and the fun begins....

Have you got a favourite piece from the collection?
It changes everyday, put probably the one that Vauxhall Fashion Scout shot for the preview. It combines a print I created with one of my illustrations and photos together with sculptural fabric manipulation.

Do you think your previous work at the Italian Fashion Houses, Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara, has had an influence on your own style of design?
It was incredibly valuable working in Italy for two big fashion houses to help me understand the business side of the industry… Working for myself allows me more creative freedom though.

Describe the 'David Longshaw woman'?
Complicated and feminine. 

What has been your greatest achievement as a designer so far?
People with a fashion pedigree like Mary Quant, Alberta Ferretti and Isabella Blow, complimenting my work.

As well as a fashion designer, you are a contributing writer to Fashion 156, the creator behind Maudezine and a fantastic illustrator… is there anything you can’t do David?
Cook! I'm appalling; I once tried to grill a pizza (worryingly one of my friends was helping!)

You are currently stocked at Sister Japan and Young British Designers, where else would you love to see your pieces stocked?
I want my pieces to be stocked in stores that really love my work; I don't have a particular dream store. To be stocked in the fashion capitals and key cities is a long-term aspiration.

For the last two seasons you have collaborated with jewellery designer, Kirsty Ward, are there any other designers you would like to form a collaborative relationship with in the near future?
Well I also collaborate with milliner Katherine Lee; she has worked with me in different ways each season (not actually on a hat yet) since my RCA (MA) days. The last two seasons I've also worked with knit designer Lily Hibbert.   

When and if you ever have time away from working, what are your guilty pleasures?
Going to the cinema with my girlfriend and buying pick and mix.

And finally, you are exhibiting at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Paris show room this season: What are your plans once Paris Fashion Week is over?
To finalise orders, start production for the S/S ‘11 collection and start designing for A/W ‘11, which I'm already getting excited about.

For more details on David and his whimsical creations please visit his WEBSITE

Sarah Barlow