VFS Exhibition - Q&A with MASC

Duncan Shaw is one half of MASC, a new womenswear label making debuting their full collection at London Fashion Week in the VFS exhibition.

What’s the inspiration behind your spring summer 2012 collection?
Aircraft wings. We find the elegant, but geometric at the same time, and we translated that into our pattern cutting. We’ve got converging seam lines and panels of leather in certain shapes; we also focused on a wing pleat (it’s like an angled pleat) that we incorporated into our key dresses.

You’ve used a tightly edited palette. How and why did you choose to do this?
When we were originally looking at air craft imagery we found that a lot of the old photographs used really muted colours, brown or black aspects heightened with occasional colour pops that often referenced a sign or a safety symbol.

What’s your design process?
After researching I’ll start to build a mood board, and everything begins to come together. From there I create concept images, which I lay over the human body and then I sketch. I nearly always start by draping on a stand, and then rotate around the stand, as it’s important for us to look at the piece from all angles, not just the front.

Can you explain the name of the brand? Does it stand for something?
It’s our spelling of the word ‘mask’ – the reason being that in our brand DNA we have an armoured elegance that meets a Japanese minimalism. Things can be quite dark, often concealed and understated, so mask seemed like a good word that would suggest represent something abstract.

As a brand trying to establish itself, what’s your unique selling point?
I would say its our approach to pattern cutting. We’re not about embellishment, and at the moment we haven’t used print, we have the confidence to leave out those details and look at how the fabric can be draped around the body.

How has your fashion week been?
Fantastic! Our objective was to reveal the collection and introduce ourselves as MASC, but we’ve had far more experience than we thought…buyers looking through the rail, key publications from London but also China and Italy showing interest, it’s more than we could have expected. A lot of credit needs to go to Vauxhall Fashion Scout!

Text: Victoria Loomes
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