It’s a London thing – Christopher Shannon

The year 2014 has put Christopher Shannon on the cusp of menswear domination in London. As we now begin to rapidly approach the New Year and with Shannon’s mega recent development, the inclusion of a brand new womenswear capsule line set to revolutionise Christopher Shannon as a brand, it seems that this year is going to reach its climax as Chris’ year. Debuting his womenswear vision for SS15 only a matter of a couple months ago, Shannon introduced a new take on his poppy yet somewhat brutalist menswear aesthetic, taming it for a minimalist female clientele in a comprehensive collection comprised of 15 looks.

Embroidered and printed sweatshirts adorn many of his acclaimed tactile tendencies, next teamed with oversized frills that garnish a number of pieces, in effect making for some daringly feminine thrills. Undeniably, this move towards womenswear will be the genesis for a new breed of Christopher Shannon street trackstars and we knew we had to be there to witness its momentum. Glass speaks to the designer, this year’s winner of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, to gauge whereabouts he sees himself as his London design life elevates him to new platforms.

How has this year been for you so far?
Busy, emotional, lots of difficult changes. It’s always busy, I think despite this year being personally difficult I’ve managed to focus on work more than before.

Tell us, how did it feel when you heard the news that you were this year’s winner of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund?
Relief. It was a lot of pressure and I felt like I’d worked really hard and built a steady business, it was nice to win the first time this award has happened, especially considering my work isn’t really traditional.
How has the BFC and GQ’s support affected your design output since the announcement?

Any cash flow helps the business, it helps you develop more ideas and put more structure in place, having more staff gives me time to think about things a bit more clearly. Plus I had time for a holiday in the South of France, which always makes me feel much better about working like a dog.

You’re on top of your menswear game at the moment Christopher, but what made you want to make the branch off into womenswear?
I suppose winning the award gave me a bit of a confidence boost. I’d designed womenswear before and not had time to realise it.  With a bit more cash flow, I was able to expand the team to help me realise the ideas.

As one of fashion’s masters of  “sports-luxe”, you’re capsule womenswear collection is said to push that contemporary aesthetic in a new direction, but where exactly is that?

I think it’s taking recognisable street codes and pushing them further, in unexpected ways.

Where do you see Christopher Shannon womenswear going in correlation to the success your menswear designs are currently enjoying?
We will take the womenswear quite slowly, it’s a very different thing, I want to grow the stores slowly and not get carried away on hype.

Your menswear, a materialisation of your aim to revolutionize what we consider menswear to be, has certainly been a catalyst for change on the London fashion scene. How would you say you have revolutionised menswear?
I think when you have a strong idea about what you like that feeds into your work then maybe people sense something genuine. I’m not sure I’ve revolutionised anything, although I know I seem to have become a band wagon for people to jump on, that’s fine. It just makes me want to move in different directions, I don’t have much interest in gang mentality.

Tracing this back to your time as a student at Central Saint Martin’s, could you describe to us how invaluable your tutelage at the hands of the late, great Professor Louise Wilson became?
I could never sum up Louise or her friendship in an interview. I miss her everyday. She changed the way I see the world and how I related to myself. It’s profound really.

What is the one thing you learnt while studying MA Menswear that still takes you forward?
Know when to push and when to not.  Also when London is drowning in designers specialising in Prada and Celine references, I think CSM graduates always trust their instinct rather than rip off other people.

Speaking of going forward, what is on the horizon for Christopher Shannon?
Anything that affords me a house in Provence.

by Liam Feltham

Images courtesy of Christopher Shannon

About The Author

Glass Online fashion writer

Related Posts