Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Interview: NATALIEBCOLEMAN (The "B" stands for boss, clearly)

NATALIEBCOLEMAN is a bit of an obsession of mine - regulars of this blog will be aware of this fact. (Fashion obsession, not the bad kind) Aside from how talented she is and how wonderfully unique her collections are, I'm always a cheerleader for Irish talent. And Irish fashion talent? The best. After a couple of write ups of her collections, I reached out to Natalie and she was lovely and kind enough to give me some of her time. Interestingly, aside from being passionate about her work, I found her to be rather funny and amazingly conceptual. Her remarks on the inspiration behind her latest collection are especially interesting. Enjoy and be sure to find the label on facebook, twitter and the online store

The A/W 2013 campaign video. Awesome, non?

And now, from the lady herself:

First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to speak to me. As you know, I'm a big fan and I really appreciate your taking the time out to do this. When I look at your clothes I always think that they're distinctly yours. How would you describe your aesthetic and point of view?

No problem, thank you for asking and for your interest in the label. Apologies for the delay, things have been hectic! My point of view is to make clothes that I believe in.

I honestly put so much of me into each collection, firstly the narrative behind each season is very important and has to come from a place of truth for me and I like to have some humour in the story, it has to translate some message to the wearer. What I really want is for women to feel strong, beautiful, cool and confident in my pieces.

I believe in the power of clothes, I always think a dress can change your life. I read a quote recently about how your life is made up of 3 or 4 days where you make life changing decisions and I think clothes can be a part of that. Maybe you are wearing something that has a memory attached that makes you react in a certain way or maybe a dress that makes you feel daring and sexy and you behave in a way you would not normally. 

When did you know that design was what you wanted to do in life? Is there a moment from your childhood that made you think fashion was the way forward?

I have always been in love with clothes, I loved everything to do with them and always associate memories with colours and smells. When I think of my Grandmother I think of being small and burying my head in her apron that had a cornflower blue pattern and always smelt of brown bread. When I think of my mother I remember waiting for her to come out of the room and put on a fashion show for us before she went out, I think of pearls sewn onto black velvet, denim beaded jumpsuits and her collection of kimonos her sister brought back from Asia. My love of fashion is tied up with my love of people and expression. I was always crazy about fairy tales and the magic of the party dress so that is where my fashion roots began, I think!

You've been seen, at times, as a bit of an ambassador for Irish fashion - is this a role that you like? Do you see yourself as a distinctly Irish designer or a designer who happens to be Irish?

I see myself as a bit of a story teller in my own way, the true Irish Story tellers have that trait and I'd like to think of myself hanging on the tail ends of that tradition. I am extremely proud to ever be thought of as an ambassador for Irish Fashion in any small way.

On a similar note, what are your hopes for the industry here? Where would you like to see Irish fashion go? I personally would love us to have our own significant fashion week but I don't know if that will ever be possible - what do you think?

There is so much talent from this small Island and I would love to see some more nurturing of it here. The fashion Industry in Ireland needs financial backing and it would be great if the Government were to set up funding that we could apply for to showcase our work during the official London Fashion Week. I think that would be a good starting point.

I don't think Ireland should compete against any other fashion week but do something uniquely different that reflects our culture and our philosophy, in that way it can be something fresh and viable. 

What can we expect from your next showing?

AW13 is called 'I belong to me' and the inspiration came from hosting a smashing party, one where people get together and bring old china and smash it up. Like a giant release, a letting go in a rock and roll kind of way!

I began to develop print ideas and came up with the exploding bull print in different scales and colours inspired by Cubism and Hopper’s hotel lobby colours with some pop art colour references thrown in. Fabrics are beautiful elegant Silks digitally printed and with sophisticated finishing. The leathers are really pop colour with luxurious brushed gold skins also in butter soft Italian Lambskin which feels wonderful next to your skin. 

S/S 2012 Swimwear.

Are there any trends that you're sick of? 

I don't care about trends, at the moment fashion is a mix of everything. What I am sick of is that a lot of people don't seem to have any points of reference, they don't care about fashion as a reflection of themselves in society. I hate Penney's culture and I feel it has overtaken so much in Ireland that people do not understand the difference in mass production and limited piece production. I also wish reality TV would disappear, I think it is killing creativity and brains!

Do you have any dos or don'ts when it comes to fashion?

Don't be afraid, as long as you feel good, you will look good, enjoy, it is supposed to be pleasure.

And, finally, if you could have anyone else's career, who would it be and why?

I would love to be Joan Collins, I used to think that I had been adopted when I was a kid and that she must surely be my Mother! I don't know why but I was crazy about her!! 

(Videos via Natalie B Coleman -- twitter and facebook)

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