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Telfar AW11

The NYC designer on making sportswear his own and his collaborations with American Apparel and Converse

Officially shows in New York kicked off yesterday, but it was an inevitable slow start given that a surprise snow blizzard, producing three feet of snow swept across the city. Those in the know though still managed to trek it out to the Fashion Art Gallery in their gum boots (that's wellies to us) for Telfar's show. Telfar has been pre-occupied with American sportswear, influenced by his collaborations that have spawned his diffusion Under-T line (made with American Apparel) as well as some specially customised Converse that distort the tongues and laces.

"I just wanted to make something that would keep you warm. It's really hard to look good in the winter," explains Telfar who demonstrated the different ways his collection of layered American sportswear takes could be worn. With lengths of trousers, tracksuit bottoms and hoodies that can be folded up and snapped into place, the pieces are given changeable qualities. There was also comfortingly, plenty of double layering and padding to keep the whole room warm and should the big freeze come again next winter, we'll have Telfar to go to for some serious winter foundations.

Where did the initial starting point of American sportswear come from? 
Telfar: The collaborations I did were all American-rooted and that's where it all began really. 

How did you add your own riff to sportswear given that it's such a well-explored genre?
Telfar: I called the collection extreme lengths. Everything basically fits any height because things can fold down and things are so long, you get layers on top of another layer. I wanted everything to be really comfortable and I wanted to make every piece out of fabrics that Americans would be familiar with but then I twisted it but adding my own design touches to it.

Tell us more about the American sportswear-rooted collaborations you've been working on?
Telfar: I designed shoes for Converse this season. They offered to make these as part of their web customisation programme and I made 18 exclusive pairs of them. They're also part of Project (Red) so part of the proceeds will go to Aids research in Africa. I just released Under T in January for SS10 and American Apparel sponsored this collection.

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