Fashion's New Optimism: Mark Fast

The knitwear designer has already got his foot in the door with Browns as his exclusive stockist.

Fashion Incoming
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Mark Fast, 27, Canadian, Knitwear

Where did you study and why did you decide to study there?
I studied at Central St. Martins because I heard about all the excitement going on there from Canada. I was going to a college called Seneca in Tronto but my tutor Malcolm Pearcey, who went to St. Martins a long time ago told me to pack my bags and get out wto where the action was. I did exactly that at the end of the semester. It was a risk but so worth it. I have met the most amazing people at that College and worked alongside the world's greatest course director.

Which city do work in and for what reason?
I am London based, because I am inspired by the grimey and glamourus mix of people. There is always something that surprises me here.

What films/books/tv-programs/moments and stories inspire your design now?
I am inspired by the mystery of nature wheneverI can find it. Being from Canada, I am so used to waking up with the fresh breeze from the forest trees. It is more and more hard to find these moments.

In your own words describe your last collection.
It was inspired by exotic birds that have escaped from the shattered Emerald city; there is an oil spill explosion in the distance and their feathers have been stained by the petrol in the air. It is a dicotemy of beauty and severity which I like combining in my work. Beauty out of destruction; a sense of hope and uncertainty. I was also inspired by Sylvia Guillem. There is a movie of her where she talks about how before she goes on stage, she feels uncertain of how the crowd will react; it is in this moment of uncertainty where she leeps onto the stage. She says that when you doubt what you do,your truest emotion will show because your instinct will move you through the dance.

Describe the moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
When I was 12, I watched CNN style and all those shows, and had my eyes glued on the screen, nothing could get me away from dreaming of having my own shows and creating my own atmosphere. I knew i could do nothing else.

Who is your all time fashion idol?
Jean Paul Gaultier has always given me hope for what I want my work to create.

In a sentence how would you describe your work/style?
Each dress is made by me from the start to when my woman wears the dress, so it is very personal. Each dress enhances her character. I work from the body only. It is a very organic process; a very abstract expressionist way of working.

From the recent S/S 09 shows, which shows were your favourite collections, and why?
Balenciaga - it was so fresh and contemporary and the colours were fantastic. Lanvin by Alber Elbaz is such a genius with his fit and fabrics.

Which new designers do you respect and why?
Gareth Pugh, because he has been doing whatever he wants since day one and Christopher Kane, because he is such a sweet-heart.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
I want to be at the Theirry Mugler Fall 97/98 show

If you could get any model/ anyone to wear your clothes, who would it be - who is your muse and why?
I would love to see Raquel Zimmerman, she is a dream. My muse is Paloma Picasso. My favourite photo of her is when she is photographed by Helmut Newton. She is gorgeous and empowering for my collections.

If you were to shoot your campaign and you could get your dream team of photographer, stylist, and model and do anything you wanted, who and what would it be?
I would want to work with Inez van Lamsweerde et Vinoodh Matadin , with Erika Kurihara styling and Raquel Zimmerman modelling. That would be fantastic!

Where do you see yourself/your label for A/W 09?
I will be in London, showing on the catwalk once more!

Where do you see yourself/ your label for A/W 29?
I hope it will be in Paris one day, we will see!

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection.
It is very important to give yourself enough time to dream!

If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
I would probably be working on breeding exotic birds in the mountains of Vancouver Brisith Columbia.
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