Showcasing a new collection during LC:M, we talk to Clara Martin about her bold and colourful designs.
You graduated last year after studying BA Fashion at Middlesex University, had you always had your heart set on designing?
I remember being about 11, and learning how to sew, and hating it! My mum was trying to teach me how to sew a pair of pajamas, but I got bored and never finished them! I shortly got really attached to my Art GCSE class, and I’d often be the last one to leave being obsessed with trying to make some traditional painting or sculpture relate to a garment, and failing terribly! I still didn’t think I could be a Designer until College and I remember feeling frustrated that I was on a Textiles course, but wasn’t allowed to make full garments. They focused on everything else, but construction, and then so I started to learn to pattern cut, out of rebellion.
We loved the playful element to your graduate collection, with the use of bold geometric shapes and bright colours, what was your main inspiration?
I tried to explore core elements that people lose when we start to become adults and I wanted men to be reminded to care a little less. There is so much formality in menswear, which is a lot of its beauty, but it is rare that you’d see a designer disregard the rule book and start over. I looked to children’s colouring books and drawings, as well as things I remember from being a child - such as Sesame Street, Elmer the Elephant and Lego.
What drew you into designing menswear and would you ever consider venturing over to womenswear?
I have always felt like women are so liberated in the way they dress, and men don’t have the same freedom. During University I started looking to muses such as Louis Philippe De Gagoue and it became clearer that menswear was more instinctive and exciting to me. Womenswear is great too, and I do get a lot of interest from girls who like my stuff, so I wouldn’t count it out!
If you could travel back in time and design in any era when would you choose and why?
The stone age! Designing for the Flinstones, would be the dream! Something about Bam Bam and Fred having matching outfits and being really clumsy – sounds a lot like me.
What path can you see your designs taking in the future?
Right now I’m trying to focus on making good clothes and bettering what I do. I’m working on refining my concept and I’m excited to see where that will lead. I have recently enjoyed discovering new techniques in knitwear and bomber jackets and I see the possibilities for what I could create in the future as endless.
How would you describe your design aesthetic in three words?
Conceptual, Clean, Clumsy - the three C’s.
Does your own personal image and style reflect heavily on your designs, or vice versa?
My work is based on what I would love to see more men wearing. My designs definitely influence how I dress; yet I think my style is a lot more functional. I see more of a statement to be made and a concept to deliver with my work, so I experiment more with it.
Interview by Sarah MacMath / email@example.com