Inspired by sportswear, 'Britishness' and traditional tailoring, Nicomede Talavera's pieces have often toyed with the balance of playfulness with functionality. Paying attention to details, the young designer and CSM graduate is now set to launch his 10-look graduate collection this week which Dazed Digital presents for the first time online. Having interned at Blaak Homme, Talavera is now working on his own name collection, a dream since his childhood fascinations with image and Savile Row glamour when growing up. We catch up with him about his new collections and collaboration with Eastpak, since we first encountered him last year.
Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration with Eastpak come about and what was it like to work with them?
Nicomede Talavera: I first toyed with the idea of a collaboration during my last project before I started designing my collection - which was a bag project. I had Eastpak in the back of my mind during the project as I imagined that they were the company that I was theoretically designing for but never thought that it would actually materialise! I have always been a huge fan of them as a company and own so many of their bags and thought that their collaborations with designers in the past had been really incredible!
So once the project had finished, I began designing my collection and then the time came to design the accompanying bags. During the design stages I thought – why not take a chance and actually approach Eastpak? So, I approached them way back in October 2010 with the idea of a collaboration… and after a few emails back and forth discussing everything they were really keen and gave it the go ahead! It was a really fast-paced experience and I learned a lot from working with such an established and experienced company. They were fantastic to work with and gave me completely free reign over the designs, details and fabrics etc. We kept in constant contact throughout every stage of the process and sampling and they were totally open to all of my ideas and requests about fabrics, finishings and shapes and were happy for me to design new styles and also re-invent the existing classic shapes.
DD: You are now launching your ten-piece graduate collection - what has been the most valuable lesson you have learnt whilst studying at CSM?
Nicomede Talavera: I think the main lesson that I have learned is that attention to quality and detail is key when designing menswear. I think guys tend to have more ‘key-pieces’ that they re-visit time and time again and are less ‘throw-away’ with their clothes. So a garment needs to be well made to withstand time and wear but also have interesting details, shape and fabrics to keep you going back to it and still find it a piece that is interesting and that you enjoy wearing!
DD: Has your perspective/attitude changed much since graduating?
Nicomede Talavera: I think that over the last four years of my degree my perspective on everything has constantly evolved and changed due to the speed at which I was studying, learning and honing in on my aesthetic and design identity. During my placement year working at 3.1 Philip Lim and Lanvin Homme I was able to practice my skills in a professional context and this was also really beneficial in opening my eyes to what a working designer’s day-to-day schedule and tasks entail. So that has made me feel quite prepared for life post-graduation but I think my perspective and attitude towards design is still constantly changing because I am taking in so much information and still learning about everything – I think after my MA I will have a clearer outlook, perspective and understanding.
DD: What item have you been coveting for S/S11?
Nicomede Talavera: For S/S11 I am really into a more relaxed tailored look. Especially in washed fabrics that don’t need ironing, have a creased relaxed look and can be carried around in your bag all day for hours on end and they still look good!! Mainly in a muted palette of greys, beiges, khaki and white.
DD: What advice would you give to incoming design undergraduates?
Nicomede Talavera: Be open to change! Listen to and absorb as much information, advice, tips etc. as possible and really see your time on a degree as a chance to experiment, take chances and most importantly make mistakes! It’s all part of the process of finding out who you are as a designer and what your unique style and voice is.
Photographer Nik Hartley
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