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Thomas Wakeford

The collaborative duo behind the new Thomas Wakeford collection mix tough python and lambskin for a 'Japanese space cowboy' look

Despite the cut and paste appearance of the new Thomas Wakeford collection, the two people behind the brand - Thomas Wakeford and Raphael Castelmezzano - claim the pieces are the result of a singular vision - an appreciation for a masculine approach to womenswear. A student on the MA womenswear course at St Martins, Wakeford approached stylist Castelmezzano (who's worked for Dazed and Confused and AnOther) to style his graduate collection before asking him to form a permanent design partnership under his name.

The new pieces see tough materials including python and croc embossed lambskin mixed with geometric shapes and has lead to what the pair describe as a ‘Japanese space cowboy’ aesthetic for AW 2011/12. ‘The 'woman' for this collection is sort of a Texan girl who goes out clubbing in the future’. We spoke to the design duo about their first official collaboration together.

Dazed Digital: Can you tell us what drew you to work with one another?
Thomas Wakeford:
I asked Raphael to join me in creating the Thomas Wakeford brand as I thought his styling background would only compliment the work. The dynamic works in the way that we both approach the development of the collection from different perspectives. I wouldn't have wanted to team up with another designer.

DD: What part does each of you play in the design process?
Raphael Castelmezzano
: We create the collection together, but play on our strengths, backgrounds and experiences - myself as a stylist and Thomas as a designer.

DD: You use a range of contrasting fabrics and materials, how did you go about selecting them?
Raphael Castelmezzano: We are very much into crude and contrasting textures, with each collection creating its own fabric story. After research and development the ones we chose felt right.

DD: You've gone for quite masculine shapes despite being women's wear designs, why is that?
Thomas Wakeford: The girl we design for is always a bit of a tomboy, and this shape worked well with the crudeness of the fabrics and the harsh minimalism we were trying to portray at that time. Also we wanted to somewhat revolt against conventional femininity and work with a shape that went against it. 

DD: Where do you start when designing a piece?
Thomas Wakeford:
We start with anything from an image, to draping or sketching. 

DD: And how do you see the brand developing?
Thomas Wakeford: Into a proper business that's stocked internationally and that grows with integrity. We want to keep on having fun and pushing our ideas from season to season.

Letty Schmiterlow
Emma Wyman
Jaimie Tanner
Make Up
Mika Shimoda
Photographers Assistant
Danny Reed
Special thank you to Anil Sharma and 37 Mildmay Road