Gareth Pugh on his brand's selling power and his inspiration!

16 March 2011

The designer taking his bow after his A/W '11 show

According to an interview in the current issue of VICE, Gareth Pugh didn’t sell a single piece of clothing until four or five seasons in. 'We didn’t sell anything from the poodle or gimp shows — nothing until the fourth or fifth show. My first show was such a last-minute thing. I was only really thinking about the show and not selling stuff afterward. But once you start showing, you’re on the treadmill and have to carry on.' Considering one of his dresses was a man-sized lampshade that lit up all over, we’re not 100% surprised that Selfridges didn’t order it in every size. Says Pugh; ‘Legally, Casey Spooner [electro DJ and performer, who modelled in the show] could only model it if he signed a death waiver.’

His 2006 light-up jacket made it into an HSBC advert! (So THAT'S where he got his money from)

BUT! On the other hand we know this story does have a happy ending, because Pugh is now much more of an established force on the Paris and New York schedules and happily, sells enough futuristic jackets to have opened a stand-alone shop! In Hong Kong, no less.

We love Gareth Pugh – he’s an avant garde designer, he’s British, he’s friends with Jeremy Scott - what's not to like? But you're more likely to see him in a dirty club in the East End of London than you are within 100 miles of a red carpet event. Just listen to his description of being at the Met Ball a few years back; ‘I’d flown to New York to shoot with Mario Testino. I ended up at the Met Ball afterward and found myself having a fag with Christian Slater in the toilets while David Beckham took a piss at the urinal. The toilets there are a real superstar clusterf*ck. I just couldn’t work out why I was there.’

Neither does he do many interviews either, not being that bothered about hob-nobbing the media. Our long-held impression of Pugh is that, in person, he’s quite a serious chap. He’s genuinely obsessed with his work and everything else is just a bit of a distraction. He backed this up by saying to VICE that on his days off, ‘When I’m not asleep? I eat Mexican food with my boyfriend. I don’t feel like I’ve had a guilt-free day off in a long time, to be honest. It’s actually quite sad that I can’t answer that question, though. I don’t really have any pastimes. I don’t read, I don’t file through eBay looking for vintage Norma Kamali. I watch Coronation Street and East Enders. Doing really normal stuff is like a break for me.’ What else? The inspiration for each collection? ‘I don’t do India one season and Spain the next. I’m not one of those people who has to look for the next thing. I suppose it’s the search beyond the clothes. With everything creative you always have to have that dry sense of dissatisfaction with whatever it is you do. Searching for perfection but never finding it.’

There speaks someone who really is all about the craft and we respect him even more for it!

- Naomi Attwood

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