Designer Blaire Archibald tells Viva about his unique style philosophy.
Blaire Archibald is the talented winner of Miromoda 2010, and will be showcasing eight outfits from his winning collection at NZFW on Friday. Archibald won the Emerging Designer Award as well as taking out the Overall Winner, for his menswear depicting mankind's relaxed attitude towards the future of life.
The AUT fashion school graduate, who is currently working on an honours project that explores the current shift in menswear and how it is communicated and discussed, has reworked the collection since being announced as the winner in June, using the time to update and add fresher elements. Friday's show will also mark the debut of a range of unisex bags made in collaboration with Matt Nash.
Who or what inspires you, in terms of design?
I believe in having a strong personal connection with your work. I don't think you have to claim that you only design clothes you personally would wear, it's more about identifying an element within your work that signifies who you are as a designer. For me it is about integrating a quality I possess or perhaps a person I feel a strong connection with into my work. Without that, I feel like the work doesn't belong to me, so having that integration acts as a basis for what inspires me.
Who are your favourite designers?
I'm drawn to designers who have a strong philosophy that shows through their work. I like reading interviews with designers to get an understanding of their approach to fashion. I read an article on Damir Doma where he talked about having a very sensitive and poetic application to the way he designs. As a designer, I utilise a similar application to my work.
What magazines do you read?
Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom of Fantastic Man magazine see men's fashion as being about character and a sense of personal power, rather than sexual deliverance. I have the same attitude toward what is currently circulating in men's fashion magazines, so I find Fantastic Man to be a substantial and intellectual read.
How do you define the word "fashionable", what does it mean to you?
I think the term 'fashionable' is such a difficult word to justify because it's completely subjective and has several stereotypes attached to it. Personally, I don't use the term and I think it's a very lazy way to describe a person that has an awareness of the various shifts within the fashion spectrum.
You feel best wearing?
I wear so many different things throughout the week that I couldn't really summarise that question into one single outfit.
Who is your ultimate style icon or fashion plate?
I think it's rather conventional to have a style icon. I wouldn't like to think that I'm being dictated to by the way someone else chooses to dress themselves. I certainly believe there is validity in observing different styles but I try not to pay too much attention because I know who I am and I know my own style and I don't need assurance of that from looking at somebody else.
What is your favourite decade, style-wise?
I like certain aspects of every decade. I extract ideas from a number of different time periods. I particularly admire the gentlemen of the early 17th century because they lived in a time where it was the social norm to dress to the nth degree. For them, it was about the precision and delicacy of how clothes were styled and finished. It was a time where people saw the true beauty in clothing.