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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with fashion designer David Longshaw

Siobhan Fagan talks to David Longshaw - fashion designer, pattern cutter, illustrator and writer. He reveals how he worked his way up the fashion ladder, talks about the stellar line-up of industry figures he's worked with, and what the future holds…

Written by Siobhan Fagan

Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones.

Over the course of Latitude I saw numerous comedians, online some of whom appeared as comperes on other stages when not performing to surely one of their biggest ever audience (of thousands) in the Comedy Arena. The Cabaret Arena was much favoured, cialis 40mg as of course was the Literary Arena – hanging out with Robin Ince and his fabled posse.

Kevin Eldon, sildenafil Phil Jupitas, Josie Long… they all dropped by, frequently.

Latitude 2010-Phil Jupitas by Amelia Gregory
Phil Jupitas. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Robin Ince by Stacie Swift
Robin Ince by Stacie Swift.

My favourite part of the longstanding Book Club was a guide to one of Robin Ince’s favourite bad books: Mens’ Secrets, set to a duelling musical accompaniment.

Latitude 2010 James Acaster by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster.

James Acaster was one such novice who I saw happily entertaining pre-act literary crowds with clever improv. Teenage wonder Ivo Graham kept the Cabaret crowd thoroughly entertained with his impromptu rendition of Blind Date – amusingly he is so young he had to be told of Cilla’s name. Weird to think of Blind Date already consigned to ancient TV history.

The main Comedy Arena was my favourite place to hang out in 2007, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Despite additional wing tents on each side of the huge central marquee, the arena remained unable to contain the enthusiastic crowds, who kicked up huge volumes of dust with every new exodus and influx.

Abi Daker - Ivo Graham
Ivo Graham by Abigail Daker.
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One of the biggest draws of Latitude is the chance to discover new talent. Ivo Graham is a mere 19 years old, which made his ability to engage a massive audience all the more impressive. With jokes centred around Facebook, pesky younger brothers and getting in trouble with mum, he still struck a chord with the older folks.

Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins
Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins.

Eric Lambert was winner of the Latitude New Act of the Year 2010, although from what I heard Ivo would have been way more deserving…. or James. Eric’s winning performance centred around an improv routine that wasn’t always quite up to scratch.

Latitude 2010-Eric Lambert by Amelia Gregory
Eric Lambert.

He was cheeky and sexual, no doubt a hit with the ladies. It’s proved nigh on impossible to do any research into Eric since he seems to have zero internet presence… but I would guess from his demeanour that he’s a big fan of Russell Brand.

docbrown_by_iamanoctopus
Doc Brown by Iamanoctopus.

Of the better known comedians I really enjoyed the guide to slang courtesy of Doc Brown, who was formerly a rapper and just happens to be younger brother of Zadie Smith. Sucking snot out of his small child and inappropriate comments on packed buses define his descent towards the normality of family life.

stephen-k-amos-suziewinsor
Stephen K. Amos by Suzie Winsor.

Following him on Friday South Londoner Stephen K. Amos was suitably un-PC, berating his previous Yorkshire audience for its lack of diversity, ripping the piss out of posh people, bemoaning his old age (he’s 35. there’s no hope for me) and generally causing loud if somewhat uncomfortable chuckles across the arena.

On Sunday we caught the tail end of Rufus Hound, who was indeed face-painted up like a dog, if somewhat lacking of a tail. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of marriage and babies… which led onto the misogynistic diatribe of Richard Herring, a 43 year old singleton who made jokes about tit wanks and gay sex, accompanied by a signer for those hard of hearing. Or perhaps just to afford the opportunity to make yet more lewd jokes.

Richard Herring by Sine Skau
Richard Herring by Sine Skau.

He also over-milked an incredibly tedious tirade about Mars Bars that met with a fairly frosty reception… that became part of the act… that increased it’s tediousity. I think he was my least favourite comedian at Latitude.

ANDREW LAWRENCE Faye Skinner
Andrew Lawrence by Faye Skinner.

Next up Andrew Lawrence was really quite sinister but also strangely endearing, geared as his jokes were around his all round lack of appeal. Hey, why the sadness? I’ve always had a soft spot for scrawny gingers! Leaning back at a jaunty angle and grinning demonically he spoke of his semi-autistic relationship with his current (long-suffering) girlfriend. Hey, doesn’t that cover most men?

Lastly, Deborah Francis White put on a genius show on Sunday in the Cabaret Arena. “Every actor wants to be in a sitcom, every man wants to be in a woman,” she informed us, talking us through a series of pie charts that showed the different state of mind for women. Whilst we’d like practically every man we meet to want to sleep with us (approximately 95% according to Deborah) the reverse is true when it comes to the amount of men we actually want to sleep with.

Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins
Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins.

To a chorus of knowing laughter from women, slightly nervous laughter from the men, she talked us through the best way to pull the opposite sex. “Be a Scorsese movie!” she opined, extolling the virtues of confidence. “You’re probably not going to get a part in me…” But the point is that every man should want to. Even if the reason they’re so fixated on lesbian porn is simply “two tits good, four tits better.” She persuaded the women in the audience to stroke themselves on the breast to turn the men on, pulled people out of the audience to follow her instructions on how to tell a girl on the tube she’s gorgeous, and finished with a bra wrestling match between two men. Because who wants to sleep with a man who can’t get a bra off with one hand?

The comedy at Latitude Festival is undeniably one of its biggest selling points… now if only they could figure out how to accommodate the heaving numbers of people that yearn to be amused.


David Longshaw, patient illustrated by Abigail Wright

David Longshaw is a man of many talents. Aside from designing his own label, look he is passionate about writing and illustrating not only for various publications but as part of the creative process behind his collections. 

After his passion for fashion lead him to an open day at the famous Central St Martins, try where all his favourite designers had attended, before even completing his GCSE’s, he decided to go ahead with A Levels at his local Grammar school whilst taking Wednesday afternoons off to study  pattern cutting at an Adult education centre as his first step onto that ladder towards success. It worked.  

Now, with an impressive resume boasting a degree, an MA, various awards, work with designers such as Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara and his own label, he is as motivated as ever and yet to satisfy that inner taste for success in the fashion industry. 


AW10, illustrated by Krister Selin

How did you get from such humble beginnings, attending just one pattern cutting class a week, to working with such big designers and creating your own label? 
During the summer that followed my A Levels, I did a work placement with Adam Entwisle, working on his LFW debut collection. I then studied Art Foundation at Manchester Metropolitan and carried on my pattern cutting, studying the advanced course. Then, during that summer I did work experience at Clements Ribeiro and Hussein Chalayan before starting at St Martins, where I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Womenswear. 

The fabric for my graduate collection was given to me by Richard James after doing a work placement there on Savile Row during my second year and the collection won the Colin Barnes Drawing Prize and the Esme Fairburne Award. 

After St Martins I went straight on to the Royal College of Art studying  (MA) Fashion Design Womenswear. I was asked to design for Alberta Ferretti before I finished my graduate collection but said I wanted to finish my MA, so the day after graduating I moved to Italy to design for Alberta. It was great being offered the job before graduating as it meant I could concentrate on my collection and I knew I’d get great experience from designing in Italy. 

My MA collection was selected for the Final of ITS#6 (Trieste) and Le Vif Weekend (Belgium) and I then went on to design for Max Mara in Italy before coming back to start my own label. 


David Longshaw at Ones to Watch, AW10, photographed by Matt Bramford

Where do you get inspiration from for your own label?  
I’m inspired by short illustrated stories I create specially for each new season. My last collection was called ‘Escaping Emily’, it was about a puppet who was discovered by a slightly disturbed fashion designer called Emily who had moved to work in Italy.

Some of the illustrations I then turned in to prints for the dresses – and the cogs that were in some prints and sewn on to some garment, came from the section where Emily finds the puppet in a hamper style basket that’s full of camera and watch parts. The colours, shapes and prints all come from the story.  


Illustration from David’s sketchbooks

Are there any designers that you would compare yourself to or that you admire? 
I wouldn’t compare myself to any one really but I really admire a variety of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy. Kirsty Ward is a really exciting designer who’s launching her own label this September, after working for Alberta Ferretti and doing jewellery for my collections. 

Are there any pieces from your collections that you are particularly fond or proud of? 
I have a few favourites. One of them is a cog print cropped jacket from my last collection that wasn’t actually on the catwalk in the end as I felt there was enough going on with the dresses and it would have detracted from the total look. I also like the pleated dresses from the last collection as they were the trickiest to construct but after a severe lack of sleep, wither out how I wanted. 


Illustration by David Longshaw

What else do you get up to in any spare time that you manage to have? Is there anything other than designing that you like to immerse yourself in? 
I also do some writing and illustrating for different magazines which you can find links to on the press section of my website. There’s also a section called ‘Maudezine’ where I’ve interviewed Holly Fulton and JulieVerhoven. I’ve also written about up and coming designers with fictional character Maude for Disorder magazine which is quite amusing. 

Other than that, I really love going to galleries and the theatre with my girlfriend when we both have the time! I also really like watching rugby and football, especially live.  I’ve not had much time to go since starting working for myself but I get the odd match in with my dad or friends.   


AW10, illustrated by Krister Selin

So, what’s next for David Longshaw?  
Well short term I’m working on my new collection for September, which I’m planning on exhibiting in London and then Paris. I’m expanding my collection to include some more, simpler pieces using my illustrations as prints so they are more accessible for shops and customers. That will also mean I can have a few more extreme pieces in the collection to balance it all out which should be fun. I’ll also be continuing writing and illustrating. 

Where do you see yourself in the future? 
Hopefully still being as creative as possible – designing , writing and illustrating, just hopefully on a bigger scale with my own larger creative company.



David Longshaw at Ones to Watch, AW10, photographed by Matt Bramford

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