Katie Eary collaborates with regular Dazed contributor Fabien Kruszelnicki on an exclusive film for Dazed Digital to preview her SS12 collection – arid heat, military undertones and a new direction for the unstoppable London designer.
Daring, unique and undeniably on the fast track to world domination, Katie Eary always manages to catch the eyes of press and buyers with her progressive and uncompromising approach to menswear. Dazed caught up with her as she put the finishing touches to her S/S12 collection preview for Paris to talk about ASBO chavs, Pink Floyd and the Katie Eary kid.
Dazed Digital: So where did the idea for your S/S12 come from?
Katie Eary: I wanted to focus on dry land – so the desert is an obvious first thought. I then started to look at the French Foreign Legion and surviving on the bare minimum –using falcons to get their food, a life line for survival… they die out there. It gets a bit trippy at this point with the introduction of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…
DD: Do you always know a whole season before what the next collection will be like?
Katie Eary: I never know summer collections. So it's always a surprise for me [laughs]. Winter on the other hand, I always know.
DD: This new collection is quite different from your others – you've used lighter colours in some of the pieces, along with a few more structured and loose shirts.
Katie Eary: I wanted to show I can cover it all. Tailoring was something I have moved away from over the last few seasons, but I just thought it was time to bring it back again. It was always one of my strong points. As for the colour – I thought I'd give people's eyes a break! But only for one season.
DD: Print has been a core part of your collections for quite a while now, what draws you to it?
Katie Eary: Impact. Plus it sells the idea of the story. I never really have muses, more fictional characters, and so, like most stories, illustrations can help set your brain on fire.
DD: Your prints are usually abstract patterns but this time there are more literal cheetahs and eagles – is this a conscious move away from pattern?
Katie Eary: The prints were inspired by Pink Floyd album covers. It was a new approach –placement print and collage was never on my list of things to do, but then this collection as a whole is very different for me. I wanted to move everything into a new base. I like to make myself feel uncomfortable so that I have to work harder than usual. I have been out of my comfort zone for the last two months, but its good for me. As we were putting the looks together I was like, 'phew, there he is – the Katie Eary kid'.
DD: What new kind of fabrics have you used in this collection?
Katie Eary: Extremely lightweight silks with heavy canvas, poplin and white denim. Oh and wife-beater netting…
DD: What draws you to London and makes you want to stay?
Katie Eary: Apart from being too busy to leave? I love it. Everything I want and need is here.
DD: Has the 'Katie Eary kid' you mention changed since you started?
Katie Eary: Not really, he's still the ASBO – or my brother… But I have questioned whether this army of chavs would wear my stuff. So with time and thought maybe I'd say Macaulay Culkin – especially with that spitting cover from The Face in mind.
DD: Where do your ideas for collections start?
Katie Eary: I usually have an inkling from any books I may have read or films I've seen. Things stick 'til I feel the time is right to use it.
DD: Lots of young London designers are increasingly being stocked in the Far East – like Japan for instance. Do you think this will be the next big market?
Katie Eary: They are the market for me. They are so forward thinking and that's why my collections do so well there I think – plus they all look so, so great wearing it. I'm still not sure America and Europe are ready...
DD: With the idea of fashion seasons starting to blur, would you ever consider resort or pre- collections?
Katie Eary: No thanks! My life is stressful enough.
DD: A lot of new menswear designers are moving into womenswear and vice-versa. Last season we saw a bit of this in your show – will we see more?
Katie Eary: Menswear will always be my core. I'm not writing off womenswear either, but I want it to be an organic progression, the womenswear shown last time was to broaden the horizons, but it was very 'out there'. I'm not ready to tone it down, and I also don't want to be a slave to the industry.
Text by James West
Film by Fabien Kruszelnicki