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Interview: PAUSE Meets Christopher Raeburn

PAUSE interviews British designer Christopher Raeburn about his SS15 “Meridian” 3D fashion film, the message behind his current Autumn/Winter ’14 collection and tips for graduates aspiring to showcase their collections at London Fashion Week.

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Watch the video interview here:

Interviewer: Johnson Gold
Videographer/Photographer: Jack Alexander
Video Editor: Alberto Rodríguez Recio

This year we’ve seen you bring out a fashion film and showcase your SS15 collection in June. In that collection you featured the final look (look 22) in your fashion film, why was that the chosen look for the film?

This season for Spring/Summer ‘15 we actually featured our final look from the catwalk show in a 3D dimensional film. It’s the first time we’ve sort of really done something that experiential, so really we wanted to focus on a really special garment and we chose one of our remade pieces. So each season we do different deconstructed reworked pieces that are the real premium pieces from the collection, so it made sense to highlight that one.

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Will you continue to bring out more fashion films?

Fashion films and moving image in general is super important. The world that we live in today, digital media of course, very important, so for us it’s how we can experiment and how we can do new things each season. So yeah fashion films are really important.

What are your views about fashion films and what do they offer in comparison to runway shows?

Fashion films for me can often give an opportunity to provide a narrative for the design work. For example to explain the Remade concept or to really under pin the concept of the season, and that can really be really difficult to get across from a catwalk show.

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You mentioned that ‘The Remade’ will always lie at the heart of the brand, tell us more about this ethos…

Remade in England and the remade concept is the DNA of my brand. It’s where we started; in fact the first collection I ever did was entirely made from one military parachute, kind of deconstructed and reworked. So each season we really keep that as the real core, real heart of the brand and then we develop from there.

Name three things that will forever inspire you when designing a new collection…

For me I think the three things that will always inspire me will be the functionality of the garment, the fabric I’m using of course. The provenance as well, really thinking about where something has come from and where it has been made. And I think finally, just having a bit sense of humour, I know that’s a funny thing but if you can always remember to make sure something is a little bit playful it really helps to inspire.

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A lot of up-and-coming designer often have difficulties and problems when beginning their journey. What difficulties and hardships did you face when you first started out?

When you start your own business inevitably there are lots of problems that everyone is always going to face; you’re never going to have enough time, money or people. So really it’s about balancing what you’re really able to do and really being honest with yourself. Then I think it’s really important to focus on one thing to begin with, for example we focus on outerwear. But it might be knowing where your heart lies and what your specialities is, which is really important.

Who would you love to collaborate with in the future? And if you had to pick one high street store to collaborate with, what store would it be?

So collaborations obviously are really important and when I think about the guys that we’ve worked with over the years; MONCLER, Victorinox, Nikey – it’s super important. When I then think about the high street, it then has to really be someone that understands our sustainable ethos, to understand as well the provenance and manufacturing that we actually do. So I would need to think really hard to make sure it’s the right person.

Looking back at all your previous collections you’ve made, which has been your favourite and why?

The good news is that when I think back on the collections that I’ve made over the years, every time I think we’ve developed and bring something new. So when I think about Polaris which is our Autumn/Winter collection, which has just gone into stores now, I’m really proud of it. There has been big sheep skin remade pieces, introduction of knitwear, lots of new outerwear and that’s super super important. Then when I think about Spring/Summer, again I’m kind of super excited so it’s really good to be sitting there thinking ‘awh I remember when we did…, you know, two-three years ago’ for me it’s really about making sure your new collection is going to really be the favourite.

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Your AW14 collection featured a beautiful Siberian sheepskin coat, and features fun bear motif, was there a significant message you were trying to convey?

The sheep skin pieces that we did for Autumn/Winter ’14 out in stores now, it was very much about under pinning our message for the season. Everything was based about arctic survival skills and an amazing photographer called Ragnar Axelsson. He very much documented a disappearing world and so we were keen to use remade fabric, we took these Siberian sheepskin coats, deconstruct it to completely rework them into those beautiful kind of pinnacle pieces. And we really hope that helps to under pin the message that actually you can reuse, you can rethink, rather than always having to use something new.

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What advice would you give to a fashion graduate looking to present their collection at London Fashion Week? What route should they take?

So my advice to graduates really thinking about how to show at London Fashion Week, It’s really about how you can stand out from the crowd, really thinking about the way that you’re presenting yourself. Making sure that concept and the way that you’re presenting is so so clear that you’re known for that one thing as well because for the press and for the buyers that’s really important.

What can we expect to see next from Christopher Raeburn?

Next up for us in fact we have our womenswear show at London Fashion Week. Beyond that, it’s really about how we can grow our product categories in the right way. When I think about accessories, when I think about knitwear, when I think about some of the things we haven’t done yet, I’m super excited by the next steps.

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Make sure you visit Christopher Raeburn’s website to view more of his collections.

Interviewer: Johnson Gold
Photographer: Jack Alexander

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