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James studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear at LCF, went to set up his own successful brand and is Creative Director of Iceberg.
James Long was first hailed as ‘one to watch’ when he launched his menswear and accessories collection at London Fashion Week, back in 2007. A LCF Centre for Fashion Enterprise graduate and winner of the inaugural NEWGEN Men's sponsorship initiative, James has enjoyed BFC support for consecutive seasons, presenting his first solo show for SS11.
The collection combined luxurious leather outerwear, unique denim treatments, embellished t-shirts, innovative knits and desirable accessories, attracting the attention of a major Parisian leather house, for which he is now a design consultant. We interviewed the designer about his time with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise.
Hello James, what are you up to at the moment?
London Fashion Week shows, men's and women's.
Tell us a bit about how you started out?
After graduating, I started my collection for London Fashion Week, at the Fashion East MAN show, supported by Lulu Kennedy and Topman.
In the very beginning what attracted you to the CFE?
The support on the business side of things, the industry connections and the financial investment.
How did they support you in the beginning?
They really just got to know how I worked and looked at where they could see potential to invest in my work and then help me grow those aspects of my business.
How would you describe the James Long look?
A combination of low key pieces and fits, mixed with high texture, detail and decoration. Modern menswear and womenswear.
What would you say are your trademarks?
Directional leather, knitwear, print and accessories.
Have the fashion press been kind to you?
Yes so far the press response has been great.
How has your business grown since the start?
I sell the collections internationally now, which I could never have done in the beginning.
Has your style changed much since then?
I think you have to change and tweak every season. I see threads in all the collections and references. It’s what you don’t know that’s interesting.
How have the CFE facilitated this growth?
They’ve made sure I’m all present and correct in business terms and they have given me great introductions and agency skills.
Have they pushed you?
Yes, in some ways, positive ways…
When did you decide to branch out to womenswear?
It was really out of demand and Lulu Kennedy really encouraged me to do it.
How did the CFE support this growth to womenswear as well as menswear?
The support didn’t really change, it was viewed as a positive move forward for the brand.
How is your womenswear different to your menswear?
Fit, colour, decoration, details. The essence is the same, the design has its own identity. It had to, so as not encroach on my menswear as they are not the same thing to me.
Who do you have in mind when you are designing?
One of my customers, me, my sister, my friends, a current muse…
What resources have the CFE given you?
Lawyers, PR, an agency for consultancy, money advice, sales, all the business nitty gritty really.
What expert support has been the most helpful?
The really boring things that I probably wouldn’t have done! Haha… like setting up VAT, trademark, logistics for production. They are not boring really, actually they’re essential.
What are your hopes for the future of your brand?
To grow in sales and to be a international brand.
Do you have a plan in place with the CFE to help this growth?
Yes, I have made some great relationships here.