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The Fashion Issue 2008

Up-and-Comers - UK

Somewhere among the pulsating mass of young designers and wannabe trendsetters that choke the streets of London are a few new faces who are ready to do great things on fashion's front lines.

by Bruno Bayley; Photos: Guy Stephens; Styling: Nova D
02 April 2008, 12:00am
Somewhere among the pulsating mass of young designers and wannabe trendsetters that choke the streets of London are a few new faces who are ready to do great things on fashion’s front lines. We had a word with three of them about the “scene”, itchy pants, and public executions.

      NOVA DANDO
Vice: When and why did you get into fashion?

Nova Dando:
I can’t remember getting into fashion as such. I always thought I was quite anti-fashion, but when I was younger I lived in a dead end town with crap shops so I began making my own clothes.

I came to London to study at Saint Martins and after that I worked part-time for a fashion PR and began assisting stylists on big shoots. Then I started putting on fashion shows and parties showcasing mini-collections alongside the work of friends I’d met at college.

Describe your work please.

Flashy, fun, glittery and unique. I enjoy making stage outfits for bands and music videos. I have to think of that person’s personality and requirements for how they want to look and how I have seen them run around on stage then I design it with that person specifically in mind. It’s tailored to perform with them.

What inspires you? Everyday life or higher sources?

A bit of both. I see everyday things and then I dream about what I could make them into. I am inspired by creating things out of unusual materials.

What do you think of the London fashion scene?

I think it is the most creative of the fashion capitals. With the amazing fashion schools here, all the fresh talent comes out of London. The London fashion scene is the most experimental and creative in that respect. Anything goes, things are constantly changing. 

Who would you like to see wear your clothes, celebrity-wise?

Björk. I would love to make something for her! I would also love to get involved making outfits for a big world tour for a pop star with lots of outfit changes.

Do you find being in the fashion world forces you to mix with unsavoury types?

I love eccentrics, crazies, and weirdos. I’m probably one of those unsavoury fashion types you’re talking about! I’d be more scared about mixing with people in other professions like dodgy car salesmen, politicians and holiday reps.

What would you change about the industry if you could?

The hours. I always seem to be working. Although if you work for yourself I guess this is how it is. I think the whole skinny model thing should be sorted out. I find it crazy when models say they have been told to lose weight. Girls just aren’t sexy without tits or an arse. 

What popular fashion items would you ban if you could?

Ugg boots, crocs and strapless bras.   CHARLIE LE MINDU
Vice: Where are you from?

Charlie Le Mindu:
I’m from a little village in France called Castelnau de Medoc.

Are you a designer or a hair stylist?

I started out as a hairdresser, doing wigs, but at the time I really wanted to be working with clothes. Which was bad because I don’t know how to work with fabric, so I decided to do wigs that you could wear as clothes or as jewellery. So now I can say that though I work with hair I’m a designer more than a hairstylist.

How do you make a wig into jewellery?

It’s just the way you wear them—they can look like a crown, or a necklace.

How important is hair to fashion?

I think that hair is as important as the style and fabric of any garment. You can just do more stuff with hair, as far as I believe.

When did you get involved in the fashion world?

I have been in the fashion world since I was a kid. I have been a fan of Cher since I was 6 years old. I loved all her wigs. My mother has told me that I loved to wear her skirts when I was 3 and her high heels. When I was 13 I really started getting into fashion and had my first subscription to Italian Vogue.

What is your day-to-day life like as far as your work is concerned?

It’s just varied and exciting. One day I’m at a client’s house, the next I’m doing wigs. Sometimes I do hair for singers or artists or cutting hair in clubs.

How would you do your hair if you were going to be publicly executed?

I think I would have a curly bowl, platinum blonde with roots like a gypsy, or I’d shave my head and wear a nice wig like Cher or like Jamie E17.

Do you spend much time on your own hair?

Yes. Five minutes every week for the shampooing. Two seconds to dry with a towel, then it’s done for a week! I like to have my hair a bit dirty, it looks better, I think.

What do you think of the fashion scene among young people in the UK? Are there many new designers whose work you think is interesting?

Oooh, I think the fashion over here is really funny—especially for the club kids. I like the way they’re wearing everything, even if it doesn’t match they don’t care. I really like Komakino as a designer. It’s something I would wear every day. Of course I would wear Gareth Pugh every day too if he gave me his clothes. I’m not so much into the English designers. I just like the forms they are doing and the shapes.

What specific scene would you say you fit into?

I don’t know if I fit into any scene. I just like to go everywhere and be friends with everyone. But I would say I am more involved in the music scene than in the fashion scene. Not directly, but through my work with numerous musicians while I was living in Berlin before I came to London.
      PRISTINE SMUT
Vice: Who is Pristine Smut?

Liria Pristine:
Pristine Smut is the tag team duo consisting of Liria Pristine and Rosie Kent.

Where are you from?

I was born in Toronto and Rosie was born in a pink house up north in Cumbria.

When was Pristine Smut born?

We started designing together as Pristine Smut after graduating from Central Saint Martins last year. Rosie studied jewellery design, and I graduated from fashion knitwear. We wanted to bring together the delicacies of jewellery and knitting.

Why such a salacious name for your brand?

Rosie’s graduate jewellery collection was slightly risqué, designed under the name Smutlane. When we got together to create an accessories collection, it seemed fitting to be called Pristine Smut. Rosie can’t design without a bit of filth, and Pristine needs Smut.

Describe your work to us.

Our debut collection draws from the 1920s. It displays vulgarity in a modest fashion, modern pleasures in an elegant light. Our label is associated with all things sophisticated and decadent.

What do you think of the role of knitwear in the fashion world right now?

I think over the last few years knitwear has become important in the fashion world. Strong knitwear designers are emerging, and designers are using more of it in their collections. It should continue growing as it is an underrated medium, but in the sense of the amount of work involved in producing an amazing piece.

Are knitted pants itchy?

If you want them to be. Rosie seems to be very happy in my knitted knickers. We’d love you to have a try.

Do you use wool? Does all wool smell funny when it gets rained on, like school blazers? I hate that smell.

We are more interested in using Lurex and wire! The sun always shines on Pristine Smut.

What do you think of the young designers in London right now?

We think there is a lot of young talent in London, but the talented ones don’t necessarily get the publicity they deserve here. London is very much about trends and in-your-face designers. Therefore, it is not a very healthy scene. I don’t think it takes much to get noticed here, whereas in somewhere like Paris they seem to respect talent more.

What’s the next big thing?

Big jewellery and erogenous zones.