November 25, 2015  —  by

Interview with Richard Malone

credit: Dazed & Confused , Love Magazine

Richard Malone graduated from Central Saint Martins BA Fashion Womenswear in 2014, where he was awarded the prestigious LVMH Grand Prix scholarship. Malone’s past experience includes working for Louis Vuitton in Paris and Giles Deacon in London. Let’s talk with him about his latest collection and his brand!

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What do you find more interesting about designing womenswear?

I always find the women who I dress the most fascinating. Getting to meet, fit and design for women and their lives is really incredible. I feel very lucky to have found a niche of private clients who have been supporting me since graduating. Its really interesting when you meet and speak to the people who respond to and wear your clothes, you find there is a shared mindset amongst you and them, and you have really interesting and insightful conversations. Its very encouraging.

You won the LVMH Gran Prix Scholarship last year. What did it mean to you? 

It was incredible. It was the first time in my education that I could focus on the task in hand and not work several part time jobs to fund it. It was also a responsibility. I wanted to make a collection that justified it and that was really beautifully finished on the inside, considered- details that weren’t on show and that were more focused on the wearer. It was a really enjoyable project and LVMH have been incredible, although I also have no problem in challenging them on other issues.

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Your collections are often inspired by your hometown. Is Ireland always your main reference when it comes to creating your designs?

Its inherent in who I am so I choose not to ignore it. All of the things I was exposed to growing up, good and bad, I look at as a positive thing, they’re experiences that others don’t have and I have a really unique point of view as a result, theres a lot of fight there. It is very rare for someone to come from a place like Wexford, a complete periphery – and be embraced in an industry that has become so homogenised. The approach to fashion has changed, its so image focused now, it isn’t as much about clothes, about design. I have no interest in creating beautiful but meaningless images. I always focus on people, its the most fascinating thing and its everywhere. Real people and that lack of vanity in constructing an identity has always fascinated me, its very refreshing in an industry so focused on ‘cool’. I hate ‘cool’ with a passion.

You’ve presented your collections in both catwalk shows and guerrilla presentations. Which one do you prefer? 

I loved the presentation. Being able to make a huge installation and collaborate with fine artist  Evelyn O’Connor was brilliant, her work is so refreshing and original and it really captured me from the minute I seen it at the Royal Academy. You get to curate a space with presentations. The presentation or show is just a moment, so you can really curate and select what you want to show, how you want to show pieces, the context. I only showed 13 looks and there were 19 in total, so its nice to be able to do that, something quite random, interesting. Suggestions and ideas as opposed to garments hanging on a rail.

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Why sustainability is an important idea in your brand? 

Sustainability should be important to everyone. You can’t be a considered, contemporary  designer without considering the world around you. There is so much absolute shit being produced in huge quantities by megabrands. Its disgusting. The cycle is horrific and completely unnecessary, perhaps thats why its crashing to an extent. Fashion is too concerned with the bottom line now. The conversations around designers now include ‘but its selling well’ or there making x amount, its a conversation about business, not design. Designers are creative directors now, which essentially seems to mean ripping off beautiful images and original designs that they don’t have the capacity to produce themselves. Its infuriating how little these so called designers care about actual clothes. They would shit themselves if they had to construct an original pattern or garment, and I think consumers now are starting to see through the shit.

What is your ultimate aspiration and where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am actually really very happy now. I feel very privileged to be able to do this and to work with the people I’ve worked with, to have support and to just be able to create and have a voice. In a world thats so full of horrific things, thats enough for me.

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Frills and graphic shapes in the fabrics are very present in your designs, what do you like about them?

Its funny that people have called them frills, because they’re not frills at all. Its a really complex process of basting crinoline and horsehair onto an open knit, and attaching it to another stretch knit, trapping it almost, a way of creating shape outside of the body that doesn’t make the wearer uncomfortable. Silhouette is always crucial to my designs, I hate fashion that only looks good from the front, all these horrible tabbard and tshirt dresses because people seem to have forgotten how to pattern cut, again its probably the speed of the industry to blame. The challenge in design for me is to create these exciting visual shapes that are totally wearable, comfortable and beautifully finished. It all comes down to cutting, tailoring and thats really what I’m passionate about, thats my craft. Its all done by me too, I don’t have a pattern cutter, or assistant or a seamstress, everything is cut, draped, toiled, pattern cut, sewn and fit by me. Absolutely every single piece in every collection has been made entirely by me and that is something I’m very very proud of.

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What are the next steps for your brand you look forward the most?

It shouldn’t be easy. Its an absolute privilege to be able to create and to have platform to show your work, an end game. We are so incredibly lucky here in London. its never been easy and it shouldn’t be. The issue is with education, the fees going up is beginning to suffocate the creative industries and its really beginning to show. The sense of diversity in our art schools i weakening and that is the most depressing thing. We need more scholarships and more support for people from backgrounds like mine, otherwise it is impossible. Every single person should be able to access their full potential and study a creative subject, its such a fulfilling thing and it shouldn’t be made into such a terrifying debt inducing decision to go into education. Education is vital. We’re now at a point where theres all these ridiculous rich kids and celebrities creating brands now, and that is fucking easy, thats a hobby. They are brands, and there is a huge difference between branding and actual design. We have to fight a bit to make sure the design side isn’t completely obliterated by these corporate, sinister hobby projects that seem to be everywhere. its another case of people filling the world with shit in order to flatter there own ego. You shouldn’t have to make people feel like shit to make them want your product, it should be the completely the opposite.

Photos: Dazed & Confused Chloe Le Drezen and Love Magazine by Fernando Uceda.

Set created by Richard Malone with and installation by fine artist Evelyn O’connor 

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