The multi-talented Tim Soar has a career history that includes setting up the infamous POST Design agency in the 1980s with Neville Brody and music consultancy for the likes of Fendi, Adidas and Ian Schrager Hotels. Moving into fashion in 2005 and starting his menswear label, SOAR, he has consistently produced invigorating collections that reference tailoring, minimalism and luxury sportswear. A combination that has garnered him both critical acclaim from forward thinking editors and a dedicated fan base.
After the success of his last menswear only collection, and its admiration from a number of women as well as men, Tim decided to branch out and create a womens line. Taking direct cues from his mens collection, he has altered as little as possible to make a simple refined and androgynous capsule. Strong lines, beautiful tailoring and subtle details reveal a new direction for the designer, that is as feminine as it is masculine.
Dazed Digital: How would you describe the design references that you use throughout both the mens and womens collections?
Tim Soar: For the last menswear only season I became interested in looking at really classic menswear from the last 100 years, rather than trying to do something relentlessly forward looking. I wanted to look at the past and what is happening now to see what was interesting about mixing those ideas. I continued that for the womenswear and the collection basically came out of seeing how I could reinterpret them. The two collections are really very mirrored, I wanted that to be as apparent as possible.
DD: Where do you look for your inspiration for each collection? You have said that you are not a designer who constantly wants to reinvent himself.
Tim Soar: One of the key pointers was the second Japanese fashion explosion, around Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto. That is definitely important and within all my collections there is a nod towards that Japanese sensibility. The other one is the early 90s. That was really the second time where I saw something new and interesting happening, with Helmut Lang and Margiela for instance.
DD: What made you want to do a womens collection?
Tim Soar: I have always had a lot of interest from women. It came to a head last season when journalist Sarah Mower saw the collection and asked me to make her a coat, from the menswear collection. Also, menswear is fucking hard to make any money out of, with the best will in the world. Ultimately, there isn't a massive market for what I do, so if you can spread your potential to make money and help your business, then it's obviously essential to do.
Also, sometimes you just have to go on gut instinct, and I had a gut instinct that now was the right time to do this. It has re-invigorated the whole design process for me, so in that sense it was definitely the right time. In a fashion sense there is an androgynous masculine feeling at the moment that fits with what I am doing. The fact that Browns have bought into this first collection really backs that up I think.
DD: How have you approached changing the mens collection for women?
Tim Soar: I wanted things to be almost identical. The varsity jackets for instance are, apart from minor fitting changes, very similar. The tailoring, that I thought was going to be easy to simply scale down, actually proved quite difficult. I would say ¾ of the womenswear is mirrored from the mens or vice versa. Conceptually everything is closely linked.
DD: Did you approach the design process differently?
Tim Soar: That was a really interesting thing for me. Over the last two seasons I have been working with a lot of interns and every applicant has been a women. That means I have been able to run things past a strong pool of people that I trust, in regards to making sure the designs are what women want. I think if you are designing for the opposite sex it is always essential to get some opinion from the people that will wear it, because I can't! My stylist, Jodie barnes, and myself have three rules when we are doing the menswear. Would you wear it? Can you imagine wearing it even though you wouldn't wear it?
Do you know someone who would wear it and look good in it? If it doesn't tick any of those boxes, don't design it because you don't have any reference to the garment. With womenswear it is a bit different because you don't have to think about wearing it yourself. All you have to think about is 'is it an interesting garment and is it going to look good?' I think that is geat because it takes things one step back and stops things being quite so personal.