From Vivienne Westwood to Tom Ford, Sarah Burton to Christopher Kane, new book ‘London Uprising’ paints a portrait of the city’s top creatives
London has long been a centre for talent in the fashion industry. A city that’s seen the rise of great designers like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Gareth Pugh, London is often where the world looks for a creative lead – and now there’s a book to celebrate this. London Uprising, by BFC co-founder Tania Fares and senior Vogue fashion critic Sarah Mower, compiles interviews with fifty of the city’s greatest designers – from Jonathan Anderson to Vivienne Westwood – by similarly famous fashion journalist names including Tim Blanks, Susannah Frankel and Dazed contributors, Susie Lau and Susanne Madsen.
In keeping with London’s reputation for fresh perspectives, though, there are equally a number of emerging talents featured, including one of this year’s LVMH prize nominees, Molly Goddard. Interviewed in their creative spaces, this is a rare look at the behind-the-scenes processes involved in what makes London designer tick. We picked out some of our favourite quotes.
“I need that continual treadmill. I don’t feel the pressure at all. It’s the perfect balance for me. I couldn’t do any more, but if I were doing any less, I would feel that there was something wrong.”
“I always save everything. I kept all of Lee’s drawings. Sometimes, he’d draw the whole collection. Lee had an incredible memory. He could describe a piece of fabric we’d looked at four years before.”
“When I decided to open my own company, London felt like the logical place for my design offices. It is the most inspirational city of all Europe and probably the world...I hate the weather, of course, but I love the people. I love the humour. I think that London and England are far more sophisticated than America. London has a rich layer of interesting, engaged people.”
“I never have time to stop, look back and think ‘wow’. But sometimes I look around and see everyone here doing something with their hands, bright colours everywhere – that makes me so happy. And I’m desperate for those days, just making clothes.”
“In the end, as a creative person, it’s not about the money you make. It’s about what you want to say. I am still driven by wanting a voice: wanting to show what I can do.”
“Fashion is fantasy; people want to be someone that they’re not. It’s that whole Cinderella thing. You aren’t that person but can be for a little while. There are infinite possibilities” – Gareth Pugh
“Tammy and I always knew we’d have our own company. Someone told us recently about creative visualisation – that, if you imagine something enough, you can make it happen. We didn’t know, but Tammy and I have been doing that our whole lives.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily think of myself as a designer but as more of an image maker. For me, it’s all character-based, which goes back to the whole stage thing. Fashion is fantasy; people want to be someone that they’re not. It’s that whole Cinderella thing. You aren’t that person but can be for a little while. There are infinite possibilities that exist within that idea.”
“When I’m designing, it has to mean something to me, otherwise, it’s just clothes. That’s always the joy of it, when things come together, and it means something so personal to me – that, and sharing all the highs and lows with my loved ones.”
“In the end, as a creative person, it’s not about the money you make. It’s about what you want to say” – Luella Bartley
“The reason I’ve had this continuity is because no one can really put me in a box. They can’t say I’m that sort of designer’ or it’s ‘that sort of company’, because suddenly I’ll paint a shop pink. There’s an openness and freedom.”
“Punk feels very heroic. I almost wanted to do cartwheels in the (bondage trouser) straps. It’s liberating. Perhaps going up to the Highland Glen in a cape with bagpipes, that’s how you felt... It’s the link through everything, to stand bigger and larger than life. You can stand out in bondage trousers, or a ballgown. Well, when I say heroic, I mean to express individuality. That’s what it is, to be known in a crowd and forcefully expressing individuality.”
London Uprising: Fifty Fashion Designers One City by Tania Fares and Sarah Mower is published by Phaidon and available now.