London Fashion Week is losing another designer to Paris, but for Pugh this is a challenge to be relished.
It seemed like such a sudden announcement that last month that Gareth Pugh's 2008 ANDAM prize money (150,000 euros) would enable him to show in Paris next season, leaving London Fashion Week behind for the first time. But speaking to Gareth, it was clear that, although many might still regard him as a new face, he no longer sees London as a challenge and is craving a new one.
DD: How do you feel about Paris?
GP: It’s nice - I mean it’s a lot scarier than London, I felt like in England I was very comfortable and sometimes that’s not a very good way to be and with Paris it’s very much taking myself out of the comfort zone. I’ve been in Paris the past few seasons doing sales, but that’s a completely different thing. Even logistically trying to get all of the people I need over there, it’s just kind of a nightmare. I’m looking forward to it though. I’m going into it with very open eyes and I don’t really know what’s going to happen, but it’s just about taking a chance and I think sometimes I need to do that.
DD: As you’re no longer a new designer do you think going to Paris is like a fresh start?
GP: Well not necessarily because, let’s be honest, it’s going to be the same sort of audience, but a few more editors or buyers or whatever. It just puts it in a different context I think and simply the only reason I am showing in Paris is because I got this ANDAM money last month and that basically made the decision. If I didn’t get that money I would still be showing in London.
DD: Do you feel like there’s going to be a bit of a tug in your heart as London Fashion Week plays out here?
GP: No! [laughs] I have to say it felt a little bit easy to show in London - and I mean, it wasn’t easy, it was really hard and I always pushed myself really hard and it is always such a dog fight when you get to Fashion Week because everybody is after the same sort of money - and it’s nice not to be involved with that anymore because that took up such a big part of what I did. Now it’s more about concentrating on what I can actually do best which is make clothes, rather than worry about who’s going to pay for it, so it’s just nice not to be involved in that.
DD: So would you say there is more or less pressure?
GP: It’s more pressure, but in a different way. It’s less about money worries which is what it’s always been about, now it’s more about actually doing something really good and something different that hasn’t been done before.
GP: When you do show in Paris do you think they’ll be any sort of cultural references, like playing The Clothes Show theme tune, that would be lost on the audience?
DD: Well that’s the thing, the Paris audience is very diverse and it’s always going to be me at the end of the day and it’s always going to be coming from me. It’s not been geared towards any particular audience. It’s just what I do but shown in a different place. That’s all it is and, but hopefully with a little bit more finesse than there has been to try and move it onto a different level.
DD: Gareth Pugh 2.0?
GP: [laughs] Yeah - so we’ll see how it goes.
DD: Speaking of the Clothes Show, someone tells me you’re really obsessed with Caryn Franklin?
GP: [laughs] Not obsessed, it was a big part of growing up in my hometown because there were outlets. You know, you went into the library, and went into the fashion section it was all books on like medieval costume and things like that, and there was nothing current and other than magazines which I wasn’t really into there was The Clothes Show, which was more current and up to date. They used to do really interesting features. It was just like something was on a Sunday at tea time and it was compulsive viewing
DD: Has it been quite isolated, being holed up in your studio?
GP: I’ll work all day and work all night then the next day flop into bed. It’s hard to do that and I tried to work last night and I just had a bad day and couldn’t be bothered and I’m so exhausted but you have to get yourself into a mindset where you can actually really push yourself, especially when you’re there by yourself. I’m so used to having at least a few people in the studio with me. To be there by yourself it’s quite tiresome.
DD: Do you get tired of yourself?
GP: It’s just doing everything on my own and it’s something that I thought I wouldn’t have to still do everything. But it’s fine, I’d rather do it this way because I know everything’s been done right, and sometimes that’s the annoying thing where you have all these people helping you but they can’t do it as well as you know you could do.