lfw: alistair james

London Fashion Week is a time for emerging and established designers to push the boundaries and showcase their new season collections. In this series we look at some of our fave up and coming designers who are bringing their AW17 collections to the LFW Designer Showrooms. Design duo Nicholas Alistair Walsh and David James Wise are the first pair under the spotlight with their whimsical label, Alistair James…

Who inspired you to get into fashion and launch your own label?

We both had a lot of our peers go out on their own and start their own brands, for those that were successful it has always just been the right moment for them to do so. For the both of us, as I think it is for many people in the industry, having your own label always starts off as the dream, and after working for a while it is normally spoken of as a fleet of fancy or an unrealistic aspiration. I think for us starting our own brand was a lot to do with timing and support from both of our families, we both found ourselves wanting to move on from where we were at the time, and we agreed it was a ‘now or never’ situation. Being partners we always bounced ideas off each other, so we just naturally started making things together.

Nicholas, you’re a womenswear designer by trade and David a textiles designer, how would you say this influences your label?

We’ve both been quite lucky that we have got to work and have been mentored by some very talented people. Fortunately, we have skills in different areas, which makes working together that much more exciting as we get to concentrate on our own skills and collaborate when needed, which is normally when we have the most fun. I guess having fun with our work is the main reason we are doing this, so the different skill dynamic works well for us.

Talk us through your design process.

It always starts with a story for us before things really get going. We like to have a clear narrative so we can branch off and tie things back to that; looking at colours or silhouettes these characters could be wearing or what would represent them clearly whilst still being a wearable or interesting piece for our woman.

Describe your typical day.

I’m not sure since starting our own brand there is such a thing as a typical day as it depends on a plethora of variables; time of season, deadlines etc. Especially at the moment as we seem to be getting busier and busier, so things are really changing from day to day. I’d guess though a typical day right now would be sampling on our new collection, as well as managing a few side projects, we try to spend the mornings organising what needs to be sent out or contacting people we are working with and then afternoons and evenings we can spend working together on what needs to be done that day.

Can you tell us what the inspiration was behind your AW17 collection?

AW17 is ‘a love letter to the Brontë sisters” Charlotte, Emily & Anne. For us the girl is love sick and consumed by her infatuation, coming apart at the seams. We are looking at deconstructed tailoring, tying seams with velvet bows, as well as further exploring shirting and volume. The print and embroidery incorporates lustful figures and lingering eyes hiding in the floral brambles. Sketchily hand drawn as if notes in an authors book. We are exploring the use of patent leather to add a tougher element to the ruffled romanticism, much like Emily Bronte herself.

What have been your career highlights so far and what have you got planned for the future?

Upcoming we are showing with the British Fashion Council in their London showrooms, soon after we will be launching our brand within The Shop at Bluebird, which are both firsts for us that we are very excited about.

www.alistairjames.london