A few weeks ago, models hit the catwalk for St Andrews’ (and arguably Scotland’s) biggest fashion event of the year: FS. The Alfa Romeo Young Designer Award has been held in conjunction with FS since 2011, and this year the entrants’ brief was to marry Alfa Romeo’s design and heritage with the University’s own heritage, as well as incorporate the show’s ‘fragments of the imagination’ theme.
There were five collections shown on the night, but there could only be two winners: Luke Archer, fashion designer, and George Jenkins, accessories designer, collaborated on their winning collection. I caught up with Archer to find out a bit more about the inspiration behind their collection, and what impact winning the award will have on his future as a designer.
The Saint: You must feel ecstatic after winning the Alfa Romeo Young Designer Award; what does this mean for you?
Luke Archer: Very pleased, I was shocked for about two days but soon got my head back in gear to get ready for the next collection. Winning the competition has given me a springboard with which I will be able to gain recognition and build industry connections. It has also opened many doors within the fashion industry that were previously unavailable to me. I am striking while the iron is hot and will be using these opportunities to help launch my fashion label.
TS: Tell us about the pieces that won you the award: what was your inspiration, what were your influences?
LA: I’m not really sure which pieces they liked the most but my inspiration came from the Alfa Romeo cars and the brand itself. I took the elegance, masculinity, femininity and sexiness of the cars and combined them with direct features from the cars such as colour, bodywork design, stunning Alfa Romeo grills and alloy wheels.
TS: Did you have a particular type of woman in mind when you designed the collection?
LA: I had the ideal woman I would like to dress in mind. The Alfa Romeo brand combines elegance, femininity, masculinity and sexiness and the woman that I think of while designing is elegant, feminine, sexy and empowered. I feel that the women I design for have the same qualities that the cars embody. So I found it quite easy to design for Alfa Romeo as they have the same principals as I do when it comes to design.
TS: How was it working with George Jenkins? Have you two worked together before? Would you be interested in doing more collaborations in the future?
LA: George and I work well together, we collaborated for our graduate collections and hit it off well, so we entered the Alfa Romeo Young Designer Award competition together. I am sure we will continue to work together in future projects too.
TS: Which designers inspire you? Who do you look up to?
LA: I look up to Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Christian Dior and Thierry Mugler. They are all very inspirational to me.
TS: What do you have lined up for the future; how do you see your label growing?
LA: I am hoping to have my Spring/Summer 2014 collection ready by September, to be shown during London Fashion Week. After that show I am hoping to gain suppliers and continue from there.