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Jasper Garvida: London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Preview Interview, part one

An interview with the talented, warm and hospitable womenswear designer Jasper Garvida over a cup of tea, just before he reveals his upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

Written by Alia Gargum

Jasper Garvida S/S 2012 illustration by Aliyah Hussain

There is nothing I love more than a designer that approaches their creations like an artist about to create a masterpiece that’s also flattering and wearable. One designer that does all of this as well as constantly surprise is Jasper Garvida.

A favourite of Amelia’s Magazine with a flurry of adoring reviews such as this last one on his current Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. A graduate of Central Saint Martins and winner of Sky One’s Project Catwalk show, generic Jasper caught the attention of stylists and editors alike. I visited his studio ahead of unveiling his Spring/Summer 2012 collection at London Fashion Week, which is inspired by Fashion Editor legend Diana Vreeland and a painting by artist Frantisek Kupka. We chatted about style, what women want in an outfit and Kate Middleton with a peek at the new collection illustrated by some very talented people.

Jasper in his studio, photograph by Alia GargumJasper at the sewing machine by Alia Gargum

You’ve been a real rising star of fashion (with a glowing graduate show review from Hillary Alexander, Fashion Editor of the Telegraph while the complete collection was bought out by Nicola Formachetti, previous editor of Dazed and Confused, and a firm Amelia’s Magazine favourite with your feminine, embellished, yet strong creations. Looking over your career so far and your upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 collection how can you describe the journey of the Jasper Garvida brand?
I was so surprised when Nicola Formachetti, Lady Gaga’s stylist of all people, bought my entire graduate collection. My friend Gareth Pugh introduced me to Nicola, who fell in love with the collection and sold it in Japan as well as using it for different publications at the time, giving my work great exposure that led to bigger things. I was incredibly privileged to have met him and the Dazed team, which made me realise that I wanted to do more. I then started creating collections for Alternative Fashion Week, and as every collection I created sold, I realised ‘there’s something going on here’. So I just kept rolling with the collections, although I originally never had the intention of having my own label.

Past collections hanging in the studio

Studying at Central Saint Martins was an incredible experience, where you are pushed into being more creative, but in terms of commercial design this can’t always be realistic. So I next worked for the high street, designing for different labels such as Evans, Wallis, and Miss Selfridge, creating clothes for different body shapes and age ranges. I took me a while to understand what the average woman looks like and what would flatter them. I learnt about cut, what skirt length that average woman would prefer and things like how a maximum neckline drop of 18cm is sexy, and beyond that is a no-no. I also found out how to flatter a fuller figure, because bigger women need to feel sexy too. This got me into the habit of looking at women on the tube, in the street, asking myself, ‘how can I make it better for them?’ thinking about what they need and what they want. However, working for high street brands made me miss the whole creative process of having your own label, and for a while I felt a little lost as a designer. As you know, the high street relies heavily on trends and I really wanted to do something of my own. I then figured out that the only way to do this was to open my own company and combine all my experiences so far. So I started the brand in November 2008, and it has taken a while to build up the label. In the beginning we thought about figuring out a gap in the market and where we would have liked the label to go, experimenting as we went along. I now feel very positive about S/S 2012 and that this season is our strongest. The collection is the direction in which I want to head and I feel that this is delivering what our customers wanted to see more of.

More previous collections

How does a collection begin in the mind of Jasper Garvida?
I always start a collection based on how I feel at the time, absorbing what’s going on and thinking about what’s going to happen in the future. For some reason I have this intuitive ability to tell what’s going to happen in fashion or what colour will be next. I think you learn that from working in the industry and especially from working for high-street brands where you’ve got to know what the next big thing is. I always ask myself, ‘what do women need now?’ and this is something that always changes, which is good. Fashion is like a cycle, from day to night, always moving. If it doesn’t change it becomes dated, but style is something that always remains.

Jasper Garvida S/S '12 illustrationsIllustrations of the S/S ’12 collection by Jasper Garvida.

When I started the S/S 2012 collection I looked at what was happening in fashion at the time, and I noticed a lot of colour. It was also a time in my life where I felt that the absence of colour for summer wasn’t a bad thing, and I felt so strongly about black and white, which isn’t something I’ve done before. For me black and white symbolises purity, and opposites, which has always been a theme in what I do. I never like to be in-between, I always feel like ‘if you’re going to do more, do more, if you’re going to do less, do less’, but never in-between as I feel that it’s average and I like exploring different extremes. Black and white together also create balance, and at this time in my life I’ve found balance. When I came back from Paris, feeling like this, I immediately painted the entire flat black and all my furniture white, so I kind of lived it. I wanted to share that experience with everyone through the S/S 2012 collection. I also find that when I am bombarded with colours it’s hard to think, and sometimes I just want to breathe and have a moment where I can be calm. Afterwards, I can start again and return to colours. So I feel that this collection is not only a reflection of me as a person but me as a designer, and hopefully it is another step forward.

More gorgeously detailed S/S ’12 illustrations by Jasper
There has been an intelligence and depth to every collection you’ve created; inspired by artistic movements, literature, and always a celebration of the female form and femininity. As you have grown as a designer what have you found most inspiring about women?
I grew up with three sisters (six siblings in total) whom I was very close to, as well as my mum, which gave me a great amount of respect for women. And being gay as well, I feel that I have a huge admiration for women, sometimes I want to be one! I feel that the most important thing I discovered about women is that there is strength there. Women have been undervalued for years, and it’s been said that they’re not strong individuals, so I always try to promote the strength of women. For years women have fought for equality with movements like the Women’s Liberation Front and other campaigns towards women’s rights. My mother is such a strong person and is a huge inspiration to me. I didn’t grow up in a rich background; I am from a working class family and I saw my mother bring up my brothers and sisters and me with this incredible inner strength. She’s a real working class woman who managed to look after her family while making the effort to dress up for parties at the same time. I am still in awe of how women find the time to do this; I’m baffled by it. I know as a guy, I wake up, don’t even comb my hair and just throw something on. Women still have a lot of pressure imposed on them to look like they’ve made an effort with their appearance, so my admiration for them continually grows.

Find out more about how the collection came together in the second part of the Jasper Garvida S/S ’12 London Fashion Week preview interview.


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One Response to “Jasper Garvida: London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Preview Interview, part one”

  1. Georgia says:

    This is awesome! X

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