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Gareth Pugh
Gareth PughAJ Numan

Gareth Pugh has some advice for fashion students: screw up

The visionary designer remembers Louise Wilson’s words of wisdom and his first-ever show

“I met Louise Wilson, who gave me such great advice: that the most important thing to do as a student is fuck up and discover who you are,” fashion's dark provocateur Gareth Pugh tells The Guardian in a new interview. “There’s such pressure to be a fully-formed person once you graduate,” he continues. “I hope young designers still have the scope to experiment creatively the way I did. Naivety is a fragile resource. It gives you the ability to do things you’d never do otherwise. To do things just because they feel right.”

Pugh, who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2003, goes on to say how fashion education has changed since his time at university– particularly in regard to the teaching of business skills. “When I was a student, you simply weren’t taught business,” he says. “I wish some of it had been explained to me when I started out as it’s important to know how to monetise some of the opportunities that arise.” This comes after Walter van Beirendonck’s article for the BoF, which called for fashion students to “focus on creativity”.

The designer also discusses his first show (see below), which he presented in partnership with Fashion East back in 2005. “My first fashion show ran on Mars bars and sleep deprivation...” he says. “I had four weeks to create a collection from nothing: I had no fabric, no team, no idea of what I wanted to do. I never imagined I’d be creating my first show under those constraints, but of course I couldn’t say no. In the end it was an amazing experience, making it through the chaos and producing something I could be proud of.”

Last season Pugh’s show returned to London, after five years in Paris. Set in the V&A, his vision for AW15 was dark and dramatic – thanks in part to a video made in collaboration with Ruth Hogben, which was screened before the show. This video featured a model shearing her hair, covering herself in red, blood-like paint and then being set on fire. This season, the designer will be presenting his SS16 collection at London Fashion Week, an event which will take place in less than two weeks time – stay tuned for full coverage. 

Head here for the full interview and watch Gareth Pugh’s first show below: