Having just completed his third year collection at Ravensbourne, menswear designer Kit Neale wasn’t always on a conventional career path. Swapping A Levels for internships, the designer then landed a job as a fashion assistant at Wonderland Magazine before an ultimate desire to design took over. Stating he doesn’t like to pay too much attention to academic input, his rebellious attitude seems to have paid off, with his iridescent creations having already caught the attention of fellow quirky designers including Gareth Pugh, Duckie Brown and Tom Scott NYC to name a few - and all this before graduation...
Dazed Digital: How did you get into fashion?
Kit Neale: I can't put my finger on it - it was a organic pathway I just followed that fed my fascination with craft as well as society.
DD: Is it true that you never did a foundation course or A-Levels? Do you think coming up through an unconventional route has made you try harder to achieve success?
Kit Neale: Yeah, when I left school I didn't want to do A-levels. Looking back it was a bold move to not go to college but all I wanted to do was move to london and work. Its certainly not been easy but I enjoy it and feel where I am now is naturally where I should be. I found I gained a lot of respect from people in industry pursuing my area of interest from a young age and built a strong support network of people mentoring me to succeed with a lot of hard work.
DD: What was the greatest lesson you learnt at Ravensbourne?
Kit Neale: Higher education places you in a false sense of security. College, while invaluable to my development as a individual and a designer, runs a institutional tick box society - my greatest lesson was to ignore it and discover a working process that suits me.
DD: Describe your aesthetic/style of design...
Kit Neale: I try to design with a stylistic perspective, nothing in my work is particularly coherent or matching. I source different references, textures and shapes and attempt to mould them in to an image that has some sort of correlation with what I'm trying to achieve. It's how people dress in life, it is very tactile.
DD: Which designers do you admire and why?
Kit Neale: I admire a lot of designers such as comme and dries but I tend not to fixate myself on designers like I do with artists and stylist. Artists such as Ray Smith, Grayson Perry and Chris Ofili are more influential to me - their conceptual interpretation of colour and patterns to construct an image and tone is why I love their work. I see similarities with artists as I do with stylists, I'm completely obsessed with Ray Petri.
DD: What future projects are you working on now?
Kit Neale: There are exciting things in the pipeline but nothing in stone. I've set up my own company and really want to push it forward.
Photos by Sarah Mark