Continuing this week's Meadham Kirchhoff takeover, the boys with the most spirited show at fashion week select Lee Roach as a rising talent, reminding us of the beauty in opposites. Where Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff show riotous looks built by (and refracting back) codes of youth culture, Lee Roach has a paired down, minimalist aesthetic.
Central Saint Martins alumnus Roach previously worked with the design duo and has since collaborated with other London designers such as accessories don Nasir Mazhar. Roach founded his eponymous label two years ago with a distinct sartorial stance, one of elegance and refinement using contemporary tailoring techniques. Here, Roach discusses the instructive nature of collaboration with Dazed Digital.
Benjamin Kirchhoff: "Lee has a very distinctive way of looking at men and a very thorough understanding of who he is. Not many people have that."
Edward Meadham: "He is lovely and I think he has a really interesting point of view... which has almost no relation to my own."
Dazed Digital: What are you working on at the moment?
Lee Roach: A collaborative project with artist and filmmaker Luke Clayton Thompson, as well as Autumn/Winter 13.
DD: What is good design?
Lee Roach: Good design is something that is contributing to the world, either through its beauty or function – or both. For me, there is also a distinct difference between what I believe to be good design and design that is specifically to my taste.
DD: How has working with Meadham Kirchhoff and Nasir Mazhar affected your work?
Lee Roach: Working at Meadham Kirchhoff enabled me to see designers work in a way that is very confident, uncompromising, and at times obsessive. As a result they understand more than anyone my unwillingness to compromise. There is a depth to what Meadham Kirchhoff do, as well as a technical skill that constantly excites me. Despite us having very different aesthetics.
Working with Nasir is different, in that it stemmed from collaboration. Nasir's exceptional attention to detail is something which I appreciate, as well as his approach to design. Specifically, his re-appropriation of the trainer was something that has directly influenced me and led to our collaboration.
DD: You have an unswerving minimalist aesthetic. What inspires you?
Lee Roach: There are numerous elements that inspire what I see as an aesthetic language, which I build upon each season. I have a continuing obsession with garment construction and function and the complexity of design that garments posses. This is combined with more abstract inspirations, such as the form and surface within objects and materials.
DD: The profile of men's fashion is rising in London. What's your view on it?
Lee Roach: I think the current interest in menswear in London is an opportunity to build upon an amazing history of British designers and brands. The interest provides the prospect of moving beyond the traditional associations of British heritage, taking distinctive elements of the traditional and creating new innovative design. Our knowledge and understanding should be used to move forward and develop a new aesthetic language.
Backstage photography Michael Hemy
Read more from our Summer Takeover HERE