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Time out with Fred Butler

Numerology, chronology and incandescence – the creative unleashes her own Swatch

Ahead of the clocks going back tomorrow, we thought we'd use the extra hour to catch up designer/creative Fred Butler, talking about her collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker that revitalised the watch industry (and brought pop wristwear to the masses), Swatch. Known for her chromatic spectrums, Butler wasn't always that way, as she remembers her first watch growing up...

Dazed Digital: What was your first ever watch?
Fred Butler:
Curiously I grew up coveting the colourful and crazy pattern 80s Pop Swatches but my first was black. The cosmic curiosity about it was that it was designed like a pocket watch on a chain. I loved it because I could wear it as a necklace or clip it onto my clothes! It was the most exciting feeling to have my very own Pop Swatch and have a style that no one else had. I really, really wish that Swatch would bring back the Pop Swatch (hint hint).

DD: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your own limited edition Swatch?
Fred Butler:
I wanted to come up with my ultimate dream watch that I would love to wear myself, which essentially involved cramming on as much colour as possible and creating an interesting 3D playful structure. At the time I was experimenting with a cube origami shape when I made my AW11 collection "Incandescent Meta-morph-incessant" and wanted to see how it could translate to the watch. The cuffs from that collection were perfect wrapped round the wrist so I used that technique to fit round the shape of a Swatch. I made the face for the dial a spectrum by overlaying acetate and from those scraps I made the sections of the cardboard prototype shell into little stain glass windows. I hope that its like a little rainbow-catcher in addition to being just a time piece so there is a metallic silver circle in the centre to reflect sun beams! The final detail I definitely wanted to include was having glow-in-the-dark hands to hold onto those rays after dark!

DD: It's limited to 777 pieces. Are you into numerology?
Fred Butler:
Its bizarre because Swatch chose to release it in that way but I think its great fun and I believe in fate so I was thrilled as much as being surprised. Its also funny because when I interned for AsFOUR they were obsessed with reoccurring numbers especially 4:44 which always seemed to be a poignant time – I have a photo of the clock in the Chrysler tower when they took me there and it was that exact time! All their prices were that way – a bag was $444 or pants were $777, so its quite surreal that numerology has touched me again.

DD: Tomorrow the clocks go back. What will you do with the extra hour?
Fred Butler:
Like anyone working and running in the relentless hamster wheel that is the fashion industry – I'd love some sleep and enjoy a lie in! Simples!