I was lucky to be invited by the organisers of Fashion Fringe to attend a Gareth Pugh talk a while ago – the man is a legend. His talk was part of the Fashion Fringe roadshow.
The Fashion Fringe is an annual award platform founded by Colin McDowell and aims to nurture new British fashion design talent. The Fashion Fringe roadshow travelled all across the country and featured inspirational talks with various fashion elite including Christopher Kane, Matthew Williamson, Julien Macdonald, Erdem and Giles Deacon.
Colin McDowell (fashion’s own Santa Claus) held the Q&A with Gareth at Northumbria University, in the same rooms, that we held the Newcastle Fashion Week 2011 talks (ours was with Lee Stafford, Scott Henshall and Wayne Hemingway).
The talk was incredibly insightful, delving into Gareth Pugh’s start in fashion (he started off in dance, with panto at Sunderland Empire) and his evolution from London Fashion Week to Paris Fashion Week. There were interesting stories from his Sunderland Uni days, from using material from an abattoir to an interesting story of creating a body cast that involved his mum, cling film and a wooden spoon (I won’t elaborate). His work has come full circle and he’s recently been working on costumes for the Royal Opera House ballet.
Gareth came across as an incredibly bright man with a quiet confidence. Colin McDowell was utterly charming. McDowell, knows so many of the fashion elite – during the talk, he mentions ‘John’ and breezily adds ‘I mean John Galliano’. Of course, he does.
It also comes as a bit of a surprise during the talk, that Gareth, previously applied for Fashion Fringe, but was turned down.
Gareth Pugh decreed that fashion is a big game of smoke and mirrors. His last show in London cost £6k and his show in Paris cost around 152k Euros. He talked about how when you show in London, they expect you to not to sleep all night and have no money but when you show in Paris, the reality and the what’s perceived is completely different. He also advises the audience not to believe all you read on Wikipedia as he still resides in London and operates from the same studio space.
When he talks of his fashion shows, he professes his love for fashion film as there’s no live element to it:
With fashion shows, only around 400 people can watch it. It’s very limited. With Fashion Film, you can do so much more with the clothes than the catwalk. It’s the pictures and film that I want them to see, not the show that I’m unhappy with. I’ve been happier with the fashion film than the shows as I’m much more in control.
He discussed his move to Paris Fashion Week:
I left London because I didn’t think I was taken seriously. When I moved to Paris, the gears shifted. It’s a different ball game.
It was amazing to not only see Gareth Pugh but the journalistic legend Colin McDowell too.
At the talk, I was snapped on the way in by the photographer Lee Scullion, who was the photographer on the night. Here were his photos:
Here’s me with Stephanie Ambrose, from personalised jewellery brand, Chamilia:
If you fancy finding out more about Fashion Fringe and their roadshows, visit their website here.