Up next in our Graduate Spotlight series is MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear graduate Grant-James Povey. Grant-James’s final collection will feature alongside the work of nine other students at the MA Menswear catwalk show. The show will be live streamed from the LCF Website this Friday 8th January. Here he tells us about his inspiration, future plans and advice for new students.
Tell us about your final collection…
I’ve always had a great interest the historical background of Britain so for this collection I explored the appropriation of volume within a historical context. I looked at how volume worked within historical costume, bringing it through to the modern day with certain silhouettes of new designers, that use what I would call the ‘new appropriation of volume’. For menswear especially you don’t get that voluminous over-sized shoulder and fit anymore. It’s more of a sleek fitted man’s look nowadays so I wanted to see what it would be like if you take the two cultures of the late 1500s and the modern day, and mix them together to create a new collection on what I would consider to be volume nowadays.
My silhouettes and coat style were inspired by a few Asian designers such as Issey Miyake and Comme Des Garçons with Rei Kawakubo, looking at how form fits on the body but at the same time because of the way that the costume fit in the late 1500s, I had to look at the role of the shoulders, length of the sleeves and the flare of the body too. I cross referenced this with a lot of paintings – I went to Hampton Court Palace and there were quite a few of Henry VIII that I liked – because of his figure being quite bulbous and rounded I tried to consider this in the approach to my own work, looking at how to proportion the volume around the body. It’s a very cylindrical and oval shaped collection which was fun to create. I enjoyed the smocking most – I had help with this from a fantastic lady called Maud. I worked with a few smockers because I started this in unit 2 of the MA. I really love doing it – I find smocking relaxing – I’m basically an old woman at heart!
Where did you study prior to MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear at LCF?
I did a BA in Menswear at UCA in Rochester before my MA. My collection at Rochester was quite different to the collection I have now – it was very much urban informal, denim, deconstructed fashion. The pieces in this collection can be taken as formal or informal with a mixture of costume.
Reflecting back on your MA, what advice would you give to prospective MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear students?
I would say be organised, but don’t stress too much – nothing ever goes to plan!
Try and do most of your work yourself – if you do a lot of the hand work yourself you learn a lot and your development progresses a lot more.
Always be diplomatic, smile and be kind to everyone – you never know who could help you at the last minute.
If you can, I would never recommend working at the same time as your course – you need at least 80% of your energy and concentration on the MA.
Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear?
My friend Matteo Molinari, now a course lecturer at LCF, completed his MA here a few years ago. I saw his work at Somerset House when he graduated and it was all really brilliant. I’ve always loved designing – I spent so long in the industry doing assisting roles and internships and it can get to the point where it feels like you’re just going from one place to the next, and never getting to do your own thing. I saw the shows here and I thought I want to be part of this university – they have so much to offer and so many great people came from here.
What did you enjoy most about the course, and what did you find most challenging?
Creating the final collection was the part I enjoyed most. It shows you how to push yourself, what you’re capable of and what really interests you – the final collection affirms everything. Being diplomatic was a little bit more difficult – the exchange of ideas with more ‘official’ people could sometimes be a clash, but you have to stay true to your own work whilst understanding what advice you’ve been given.
What was your favourite thing about studying in London?
I’ve lived in London for around eight years and I love it – I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the UK despite the fact the commuting kills you a little bit every day! I love the cultural scene – there’s always something going on. London is more or less a 24 hour city so you always have access to nightlife, culture, art and good food. It teaches you to grow more as a person as well.
Describe your work in five words…
Ostentatious, decadent, striking, eclectic and embellished.
What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?
I would like to carry on with smocking and working with Maud on personal projects. I’d also like to start applying for textile development roles, but ultimately what I’d like is a design consultation role, working with companies and advising on the commercial viability of their work within a high end luxury market. I think my MA will help me achieve this because the best people who can advise others on design work, are those with an experience of it. It’s good to have an experience in a retail role too which I’ve had since I was 16, but through my MA I’ve learned how much intricate detail goes into a product, the costings and things like that. Working with designers in internships gives you a sense of how a team works together so all of this combined, gives you a real insight and informed ability to advise on other people’s collections.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
I guess I do have a muse but it’s not necessarily a person. I always have an image in mind of Dorian Gray whenever I do my work. I have an image of the perfect, luxurious, ostentatious gent but not always in a historical context – more so the personality of somebody that is truly vain. Somebody that has that much care, thought, and time looking at and admiring themselves – I always try to imagine what that would be like in my work. That’s why my work is never really minimal – my nickname on the course is ‘one step too far’. In anything I say, in anything I do – my name is always ‘one step too far’ and that’s where I take it!
- Watch the Menswear live stream 8/01/16 10:30GMT
- Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen
- Find out more about MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear
- Read more about the MA16 season of events
- Find our more about postgraduate courses at London College of Fashion
- Find out about postgraduate open days
- Meet the graduates in our LCF MA16 Graduate Spotlight series
- Read more about LCF MA16 on LCF News
- #LCFMA16 on Twitter and Instagram