Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Gareth Pugh talks to Colin McDowell

So yesterday evening I attended the Gareth Pugh talks to Colin McDowell talk ran by Fashion Fringe at my University. The talk lasted about an hour and Pugh, at first seemed reserved and answered the questions carefully but towards the end he became more at ease and the conversation flowed. I took a few notes from the interview, keys questions that Colin asked and answers that I felt really stood out to me and I am sure others as designers.

McDowell started off the 'talk' by asking Gareth about his childhood and what he was like at school, Gareth went on to talk about his youth and how he was both creative and academic at school along with been very interested in classic dance, ballet, jazz etc. At the age of 16, Pugh had the tough decision to make wether he would go down the art route or the dance route, thank god he choose arts!!
Gareth is now, after almost 10 years in the industry working with the Royal Opera House in London creating set and costume designs for Win McGregor, an award winning UK film director alongside his fashion career.

Colin describes Pugh as a "Quiet confidence" appearing more mature for his age. They go on to talk about social networking, Twitter, Facebook and so on and how fashion designers have become almost celebrities in their own right, Gareth mentions "I kind of have a problem with fashion designers thinking that they are celebrities, because they are not!" he then goes on to mention a quote by Karl Lagerfeld that fashion designers should not speak, they have people to do that for them while they work on their ideas.

Colin asks "Do you take any notice of what people say?" Gareth replies "You can't please everybody and try not to take everything to heart".

"Do you think you have a muse?" - Colin, Gareth says "I don't generally, it would help me a lot if I did", he then goes on to talk about his boyfriend who is a songwriter/poet in London and how he, Daphne Guinness and Rick Owen's wife, Michele Lamy who is his "Fashion fairy godmother" are really the "Fire under my arse" as he said.

As the conversation progressed, the topic flowed onto Paris and how people generally thinks the London live/work Gareth lives there. He talked about why he shows in Paris and not London anymore despite the considerable cost increase of showing in the fashion capital "If you try and sell shit and a stick in London, it's shit and a stick. If you try and sell shit and a stick in Paris, it's art"

Once the 'talk' was over between Gareth and Colin, the students had the opportunity to ask a few key questions, somebody asked if you could see a place for 80% of the students in this room in the fashion industry, he replied in a joking manner "They call it your final collection at uni, because it could be" and then "I don't believe there are enough jobs for every single person".
"If you played along with the fashion world etiquette, would you have furthered your career?" Gareth replied "Probably yes, it's not in my nature to kiss arse but I think it helps a lot if you do" and then mentioned "But it's not good for your head or soul".

The talk was finished with a light mention from McDowell "In the long haul, talent matters".


  1. love it!!

  2. Gareth Pugh is an amazing visionary xx

  3. How exciting, he seems like such an inspiration!