He’s bought inflatables and bearded drag queens to the catwalk and even designed for Lady Gaga. Yes, Jack Irving is all about pushing the boundaries, and as big fans of his eccentric work, we decided to have a chat to the designer about his inspiration and design process.
Who inspired you to get into fashion and set up your own label?
It was more my hometown of Blackpool rather than an individual person that inspired me to get into creating wearable art. If you’ve ever been to the bright lights of Blackpool you’ll have noticed that everything is one big show and performance, everything is fighting for your attention, even when you see a hot dog stand, it’ll be covered in flashing lights and screaming out at you. Being brought up in this environment, it became very normal to think that in order to obtain attention, things needed to be bold big and bright. This seeped into my creative world and was the catalyst for me to have the confidence to make work that grabs people’s attention and pushed me to try making my work as interesting and eye catching as possible.
Talk us through your design process.
I get inspired by most things and during my design process I spend many hours collecting images of interesting animals, creatures and science references and always look at those forms as 3D sculptures and then imagine these in an art form worn on the body. It starts as a shape/silhouette in my head based on a concept, and I play in small-scale model and expand the shape up. I make 2-3 prototypes and a small section in the final material to check the technicalities will all work as planned. I often experiment with a variety of materials to check for fabric weight, bounce and movement. The time spent from initial thought to final piece can take from 1 month up to one year depending on how complex the design is and the scale of the piece.
Describe your typical day.
I like to get to the studio really early, before the team comes in and put on some techno to get me revved up and inspired for the day ahead. When I’m focused on a project like LFW, we’re working at top speed for long hours, making each of the components for each of the looks. In the run up we rarely leave the studio before midnight-but its all good fun!
What have been your career highlights so far?
At the age of 14 it was my dream to design for Lady Gaga, and I was amazed when this dream came true at the age of 21, just after graduating from Central St Martins. The most famous outfit is the Sea Urchin Showgirl inflatable dress that she wore on the finale night of her artRAVE:The Artpop Ball World Tour in Paris. In addition to pop music I am passionate and inspired creatively by Techno music, and it was a huge honour to be asked to work in collaboration with Cocoon Ibiza this summer to design their costumes for the dancers at my favourite club Amnesia. It was also amazing to show at London fashion week with On|Off in February 2017, and showcase my wearable art on a fashion platform.
And finally what’s your favourite thing about LFW?
There’s something magical about the buzz of it all and theres nothing more satisfying than getting to see your work on the catwalk in all its glory after the months of planning and preparation.