Q+A: Designer Krystie Daw.

January 15, 2010
One of the reasons I waxed lyrical on Fashion156 to such an extent was its seamless mixing of established, high-end industry heavy-hitters with recent grads just fleeing the roost. One designer who falls in the latter category is proving herself worthy of a position in the former. Or, in plain English, Krystie Daw is a pretty ace menswear designer. We chatted about achievements, aesthetics and aims for the future.
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^ Fashion156 Soiree Issue features Krystie Daw (worn by Tristan, sitting on the left)

You completed your BA at Winchester School of Art this year. What drew you to formally study menswear?

I actually had a background of womenswear design from college when I started at Winchester, yet found myself increasingly drawn to menswear. I would go shopping with my brother and I would be more interested in choosing outfits for him rather than myself. I find I’m constantly inspired when designing for men and even now I’m still excited about the potential within menswear design. I think it was, what I found to be, the lack of options for men at the time, and I’m so happy about the growing coverage of menswear. It’s a really important section of the fashion industry!

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^ Krystie Daw BA Collection

Few BA grads secure the attention of renowned press (Fashion156) so early in their careers. What do you think has distinguished you from the remainder of the mass of fashion grads?

Well I suppose Fashion156 should really answer that one. However, I’d like to think it has something to do with my fresh outlook and attention to detail in each garment I created. I’ve done a lot of research into menswear and its history, which has helped me to produce some original ideas in the current fashion climate. I feel I’ve captured elements of traditional menswear, but managed to keep my work appealing to today’s man.

Your BA collection seemed primarily focused on the synthesis of eveningwear/formalwear and casualwear with a distinctly sporty bent. Describe your design aesthetic.

I like to work with the traditions of menswear and tailoring but mix it with the more casual culture we live in today. I wouldn’t say I want to design sportswear but I do want men to look at my designs and say ‘yes I could see myself wearing that.’ I also take pride in my attention to detail, I like every aspect of the garment to be thought about and made as well as the whole ‘look.’

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What was the process of completing your first collection like? Any interesting stories regarding the conception and production of this collection?

It was a lot of hard work and pressure, but I have to admit, it was amazing to watch it grow from my initial design to final collection. It was a proud moment to watch my collection go down the catwalk, at our show, as I had envisaged in the conception stage. When I first went to my tutor and showed him my designs and told him I wanted to make the shirts out of silk, he thought I was joking, but I was adamant I was capable of pulling it off. There was a point when I was scared it wasn’t going to get finished, I’m sure every designer finds that at some point. I was there till the final day burning the midnight oil but with no compromise to the quality of my construction.

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Is there one particular source of inspiration that inspires you/Do you have a muse? Do you feel any other menswear (or otherwise) designers influence your aesthetic?

I don’t believe there is just one source of inspiration, especially not for me. I can find inspiration from films, art and most of the time from things just going on around me. I always have my camera on me to photograph anything I see so I don’t lose that moment to transfer into designs. I wouldn’t say I have a muse, I sometimes see people on the streets that I will use as a muse but no one person. I do love looking at designers (such as Burberry, Viktor and Rolf, Ann Demeulemeester) and really appreciating their collections. I admire their originality so I’d like to think they don’t overtly influence my work but just my desire to achieve that sort of status.

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THAT trench coat. Can you talk us through the construction and fabrics briefly? Is it available for purchase anywhere?

Thank you, that trench coat seems to be a lot of people’s highlight. It isn’t officially available to buy anywhere but I am more than happy to recreate alternatives if requested or sell the original for the right price, haha! For the construction I just started with a basic coat block and continued working with the lines and fit until I was completely satisfied. The buttons down the back vents were inspired by my circus theme, but the shape and cut was just as important to me. It’s made from cotton drill which was a long sought find at the time, because the colour was a perfect match for the rest of the outfit.

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Are you currently undertaking a MA? Any plans for the future?

I am not currently doing an MA but I am working hard on a new collection so there will be more from me in the future, watch this space…