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I know it’s Milan fashion week now but I wanted to share with you a quick chat I had with Tim Coppens after his show back at New York fashion week that didn’t make it into my Guardian piece. Coppens’ show was packed, with a palpable excitement front of house and a strong international contingent attending which gave a definite sense that he’s about to become big. There was already much anticipation of the fact Tim would be showing some womenswear alongside the menswear. In the end the collection featured sports mesh, blocked colour and a special blurred neon print called Jungle Sunrise. The focus was on construction, form and function for both sexes but there was also a sleek polish to the pieces that went beyond sportswear and, incidentally there was a definite UK Garage vibe to the styling (not what I assume Mr Coppens means when he talks about the 90s influence!). Overall, I wanted to find out more about the fabrics and his approach to designing for men and women…
SL: In the past you’ve used a lot of luxury fabrics now it feels much more technical…
TC: I think the fabrics are still luxury. We use a cotton nylon wash and there’s a nylon silk so there’s always a technical aspect to creating the fabrics and the knits as well but the feel is never rough. For example, we have the transparent mesh piece that is a fully fashioned knit sweater its not like a mesh that you would buy at the mall but it’s moveable, it’s specially developed in Italy to drape in a special way.
SL: How do you research your fabrics, how do you find these fabrics?
TC: We just work with the mills and sometimes I just find something or try to change something. I try to work with the same mills over and over, with the same producers so we can work on things and get them excited about new things.
SL: So you’re developing your womenswear now as well. How did that come about? Was it a response to demand or was it something you always intended to do?
TC:I always wanted to do it when I started, then people have been interested in seeing a woman’s edition to the men’s collection. And I thought this was the sixth collection so I thought this was the time to introduce a package that was sellable, this was a first step to bring it to market.
SL:It seems like even the womenswear is quite unisex is that something that you aimed for?
TC: There’s already so much on the market, so with the menswear there’s a lot of girls who buy extra small and that will probably continue to grow so there are pieces which go all the way round. But it’s not like a unisex collection, the way it’s cut and the way it sizes and everything is very different from the men’s, it’s really tailored and fit on a woman’s body. We looked at construction as well so the bomber with the suiting details for men was a lot more unconstructed than what we do with the women’s jackets.
SL: And where’s it produced, it’s produced in Italy?
TC: It’s produced in Italy, some in Portugal, Japan.
SL: And the print how did that develop?
TC: It’s a combination of everything: Stone Roses album covers, that whole era, when Ian Brown was still singing with them, it’s a very rough piece not too refined, then we had the parrots with the circles around their eyes, like a jungle theme.
SL: So Ian Brown and The Stone Roses, was that music that you were listening to when you designed the collection? How did that influence come about?
TC: It’s music from the 90s, I’m a child of the 90’s! There’s a lot of bands like Teenage Fanclub from back in the day and it just sticks.
SL: What makes it relevant now?
TC: I started to look at images of rioting and hooligans and Ian Brown came up, with his haircut and that whole thing came together and made sense.