Alfa Romeo Young Designers of the Year 2013: Interview with Luke Archer
Back in February, Luke Archer and George Jenkins were announced as the winners of the 2013 Alfa Romeo Young Designers of the Year Award. The design duo’s Alfa Romeo collection was a true embracement of complex materials, textures, shapes and lines and Luke described the type of woman to wear this collection to be, “elegant, feminine, sexy and empowered.”
“I feel that the women I design for have the same qualities that the cars embody.”
Since the prestigious award, Luke has been knuckling down to get ready for the SS14 unveiling of his own label, Luke Archer London. Now I personally cannot wait – when someone asks me where I got my top/skirt/dress from – to say, “It’s LA dahling”. 😉
But in the meantime, I get to interview the talent behind the threads…
Q1. Winning the Alfa Romeo Young Designer of the Year Award with George Jenkins must be a dream come true. What are your next steps in fashion?
It was quite a shock, I did not expect to win and I know George felt the same too. It was quite surreal to be told that we had. I had my plans for my next move in my head before we had finished the Alfa Romeo collection and when we were told that we won, it started the process for the new collection rolling in my head!
Q2. Your designs have great application of shapes, lines and textures. It’s beautiful. But not entirely accessible. I think it takes a strong woman with a lot of confidence to do it justice. Name 3 influential women (celebs or famous names in fashion) who you see fitting into your “elegant, feminine, sexy and empowered” description of the collection.
I love to play with lines, it’s one of my most favorite parts of designing. I adore sweeping curves, angles and shapes.
I like to think that if a woman likes a garment for the garment, they will wear it. It’s all about statements and making them feel good in what they choose to wear. I love women who have a strong personality mixed with a feminine appearance; women should never be underestimated. I would love to dress Jessie J, Beyoncé and definitely Lady Gaga. I love the fact that they wear what they like, no matter how weird or wonderful; they can understand the art behind fashion.
Q3. Becoming a recognised fashion designer, for most aspiring creatives, is a sadly just a pipedream (am I too cynical?). If you weren’t pursuing a career in fashion, what would you be doing? You’re on the road to success now but was there ever a Plan B?
For me it’s a dream. But it’s a dream I intend to make a reality and I will do all that I can to achieve it or die trying. For me I will not think of a plan B because I think it would distract me from my aim and tempt me when times get tough.
Once I had the opportunity to become an assistant designer for an already established designer but I declined the offer to continue trying to achieve my own goal of becoming a designer myself.
Q4. I like to think I’m good at most things I try my hand at (I cook a mean tuna steak and I sometimes dabble in painting) but fashion design is something I’ll never be able to grasp. I literally wouldn’t know where to start. I’m desperate to know what comes first when you’re developing new designs? The woman who will be wearing it, the textures and fabrics you want to use, the overall concept or just a little doodle in your sketchpad? How does the story begin?
I love cooking too! For me it happens all the time, I can’t really stop it.
I see objects things and ideas pop up in my head like little eureka moments!
But for a collection you need a wealth of research so you don’t run dry for ideas half way through! So I initially start with the chosen theme, then I gather as much information on the theme as I can. This can be images, text, photographs, sketches and so on and then from these pieces of research you look for the patterns that can be seen (colors, shapes silhouettes etc) and then you doodle…..I usually do about a hundred sketches using the research I’ve gathered. These designs are then refined and tweaked until they are ready to be created.
I don’t really focus on one woman when I’m designing, I would rather design clothes which a woman can wear if she likes them and if it makes her feel good. Who am I to tell people what they can and can’t wear? Clothes are the first opportunity to see somebody’s personality.
Q5. I work in fashion PR and I love what I do. But sometimes, I get so bored of the same old fashion chit chat. There are days when I can’t face another meeting about skirts….Do you ever get bored of doodling clothes and chatting to people about your fashion concepts and wish that you could just work behind a bar once in a while (haha)?
That point always pops up during a collection; I call it the ‘WALL’.
It gets to a point where you’ve seen your designs everyday for months and I get sick of seeing them or begin to doubt my ability. But it comes in waves and I usually get over it and carry on because I would waste time panicking. It definitely is a career that has a grip on my life – fashion always comes first. If I stop I’ll fall behind; it’s a bit like a race so there are no breaks here.
Q6. Tell me how people can get their hands on your label (what’s the long term plan?) And what type of shopper do you see wearing Luke Archer?
The current collection SS14 is scheduled to be shown during London Fashion Week in September and will be available on the Luke Archer London website and various other boutiques etc (yet to be confirmed). I can see a shopper with good taste wearing LA! I hope I see women that want to bring out the strength in themselves through wearing LA.
Thanks so much to Luke for this fantastic interview. You can follow him on Twitter to get the latest updates on his upcoming SS14 collection! And don’t forget to follow me or sign up for my RSS to get news on the preview!