Profilo Basso Interview
I had the pleasure of answering some questions for the forthcoming issue of Profilo Basso fanzine.
The print version of this is in Italian so at the agreement of Demis, the creator, I have reproduced the interview here.
It’s been a while since you and your partner form Ardour. What happened and made you start a new label?
Ardour was the brainchild of Shaun and myself and we took it as far as we could really. It got quite stressful at times because we both lived in different parts of the country and logistically it was a challenge. I think I can speak for both of us when I say we loved and learned a lot from running ardour and we have both taken that knowledge on with us into our respective new projects. When Ardour came to a finish I knew deep down that I still wanted to do a label and that's where Creu was born from. My pipeline dream was to always have a label, so when Ardour came to a close I started planning what was to become Creu and two years later I'm back to where I want to be, doing the thing that I enjoy most.
Are you afraid that everything can be exhausted with the initial enthusiasm?
Never. My enthusiasm and passion for clothing knows no bounds. I will always endeavour to be involved in some shape or form with clothing. It's part of my DNA, it's part of who I am. It's culture to me. I think it's important to be in touch with the things that make you happy in life. When I'm passionate about something it brings out the best in me, it makes me feel creative and alive. I'm no philosopher or life coach, but that seems like a good basis to conduct your life. Obviously there are also tough times when you're pouring your efforts into something you love. With Ardour there were many set backs and although Creu is in it's infancy, I have faced some tough lessons already, but that's just life and you learn from these experiences and try and develop and progress from them. But as for my enthusiasm being exhausted, never.
Your first product is the Somerton Parka. Can you tell us about this?
The Somerton Parka is based off an old foul weather jacket that was worn on Newport docks many years ago. I liked the boxy cut and ran with it, adding pockets and details to give it a contemporary look. I wanted to produce something that could be worn year round, durable and long lasting. Its constructed from a 7oz cotton canvas and has a 65:35 inner lining, so it can keep the unpredictable South Walian weather at bay. I wanted to choose colours that would stand out so I chose a Mulberry purple - which has been incredibly popular and also a more classic sunflower yellow. I think they compliment each other really well as far a choice goes.
What is your main inspiration in designing clothes?
I draw my inspirations from my experiences growing up and the cultures that have surrounded me from an early age. My parents were and still are disciples of the Northern Soul scene, but before they fell in love with the sounds of Detroit they were skinheads and the stories fascinated me from an early age. I was immersed in this melting pot of music with a visceral link to past sub cultures and it really resonated with me. My own introduction to personal style and clothes came about through football. Following my local side, Newport County, I became infatuated with terrace culture and the associated clothing. I bought my first Burberry polo shirt at 13 and I have been hooked ever since. Those early days at football really shaped me into what I am today and I take massive inspiration from the clothing I begged, borrowed and in some cases stole for back then. To me, growing up going to football and getting into scrapes with mates who I went with, being obsessed with the clothing and everything that went with it, was everything to me. Later on I become heavily involved in the clubbing and music scene, but even when I wasn't going to the match as much, I still considered what I wore to be football. I've been through many different looks and countless labels, but the reference point was always football to me and always will be. I think about this when I design a garment, it still influences me massively. You've only got to look at the Somerton Parka to see those influences and elements coming through and that's what I want. Big hoods and plenty of pockets, a nice cut, know what I mean? Creu is a reflection of me and who I am, I'm mapping my passions and influences through these garments and therefore they are an extension of my surroundings and experiences.
What can we expect from Creu in the future?
Creu is self funded so I don't have a huge budget to be releasing vast collections and multiple garments, so what I do produce is carefully thought out. My next release, due out in around a months time, is my homage to the classic rugby jersey. I've always loved a good rugby jersey. I've had some class examples pass through my wardrobe over the years and so I wanted to create my own. After that I plan on some more outwear, probably the Somerton Parka in some different colours and then we'll most likely be into the winter months. I'd love to be in a position to be making some heavy duty outwear for the colder months, but we'll see.
What are your favorite brands? Have they changed in these years? Why do you think?
I have a size 11 Adidas shoe box that's absolutely overflowing with all the labels I've collected over the years, there's thousands and the monies worth that resides in that box is no bodies business. Each one of those labels tells it's own story, it maps out what I was into at a certain time. Labels like 6876, Mandarina Duck, Boneville, Dupe, R Newbold, YMC, Margaret Howell, alongside the staples like CP Stone Island, Burberry, Aquascutum, Ralph Lauren. As you work your way up from the bottom you have the likes of Battenwear, Haversack, Colimbo Hunting Goods, Mackintosh, Kaptain Sunshine, Waste Twice, Itten. That box is like an archeological dig of my style history and it charts the different fashions and looks over the years. It's very hard to pin point all time favourite labels but if I had to then Ralph Lauren, Mandarina Duck, Mackintosh and Boneville would be amongst them.
In addition to the projects behind Creu, what fills up your days?
I work as an instrumentation engineer away from Creu, which is the polar opposite from designing clothes. As far as my other passions go, I'm an avid record collector and occasional DJ - music has often been my only release from my clothing obsession and allows me to let off steam. Obviously following Newport County is another love of mine, admittedly a labour of love at times but we don't get to choose the things we fall in love with after all. I enjoy traveling with my girlfriend and like to explore places both on home soil and foreign. I have an inquisitive mind and hope that never changes, it allows me to be creative and that's very important to me.