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James Long for Topman

The designer on his capsule knitwear collection, inspired by a roll-call of legendary clothes hangers from Keith Richards to the Sex Pistols

James Long has firmly established himself as a designer innovating in knitwear and leatherwork. Now creating both men's and women's lines, his roots stem from the former – and it's with this in mind that he launches a stellar menswear capsule for Topman this week. The designer has been given full reign to craft a range of knitwear that heavily channels his own aesthetic: Punk-era yarns and bold updates on classic textures and silhouettes. Following last night's launch at Rekorderlig's pop-up Winter Forest Bar, we caught up with the designer to talk music and style.

Dazed Digital: What was the idea behind it all?
James Long:
I wanted to create a collection of knitwear that referenced all the techniques that are familiar with my own designs. It was inspired by all my favourite jumper-wearing men – Kurt Cobain, Keith Richards, The Sex Pistols...

DD: With knitwear there is so much room for contrasting the traditional with the modern...
James Long:
I do think knitwear is great for creating amazing colour combinations and making something new and modern. In the collection there are some new spins on classics like the engineered Aran, and everything was made in Britain which equals amazing quality.

DD: What music were you listening to whilst designing the collection?
James Long:
 'Studio Music' by Rose Blake. I was also listening to a lot of Pulp.

DD: Who are your knitwear icons?
James Long:
Nancy Spungen, Kurt Cobain and Blur.

DD: Since debuting at the MAN show, you've become part of a cluster of local labels that have really taken off, going on to introduce womenswear too. How does it feel to be part of that community?
James Long:
I love that the menswear scene has grown so much – it's great. It's crazy that there was just that one-man show when I debuted and now there's a whole week dedicated to menswear, with designers selling internationally.