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Award winning Scottish designer

Jonathan Saunders

who this year celebrates his 10th year anniversary in fashion –

spoke candidly about his career:

initial stages, struggles, highlights, inspirations, aspirations

in interview with fashion journalist Lou Stoppard at the

 Victoria and Albert Museum , London.

(image from showstudio.com):

Fashion designer Jonathan Saunders

at interview with journalist Lou Stoppard





with  just that bit of

Cheeky    Potty- mouth   Good naturedness

Jonathan reflected on his early years

as student and fashion industry newbie.

He studied product and printed textile design at the

Glasgow School of Art and was always

fascinated by the emotive power of colour.

He intended to undertake an MA course at the Royal College of Art

but instead pursued graduate work at

Central St. Martins College of Art and Design  (CSM)  –

a decision which was to set him on an incredible trajectory.

He recalled the important day of his entrance interview

arriving at CSM, noting the fashion parade of students

and there was he

“… looking like a tramp and nearly s—-ing himself … “

Yet without ever having planned on a career in fashion

he accepted the offer from CSM.

He immediately felt a bit out of his depth:

“(having been) involved in furniture (design) suddenly

involved with the human body was challenging.”

Though experiencing a sense of being thrown into the deep end

he didn’t sink

but floated instead

then swam.

He credits CSM with encouraging him

“… to form an opinion, to have a point of view …

 to have a critical eye … “

He continued to develop his skill for colour use and

screen printing during a time when

“print wasn’t on people’s wavelength.”

Clearly a risk-taker, a forward-thinker

he held fast to his ‘print’ point of view,

which later was the making of his success.

Graduating in 2002 and at only 24 years old

and truly a relative fashion ingenue –

Jonathan’s first collection made the cover of British Vogue.

He believes that his “naivete maybe sparked a note with people.”

He suggests that, “fashion people liked me (because) at the time

my clothing was accessible.”

Although greeted with almost instantaneous high praise,

Jonathan was troubled by the dilemma of

“being a brand and wanting to try new things …

(it is) finding the right balance between (satisfying) the customer

and (satisfying) your expression as a designer.”

This lead to a process of knowledge acquisition:

of self,  of concept,  of language

What was it that he wanted his clothes to communicate?

As Jonathan eloquently stated,

“fashion is a story to tell, a feeling …”

To accomplish further how to write his own

fashion language and support it,

practicalities need to be considered.

He worked gratis for Pucci, Christian LaCroix, Alexander McQueen

“…to just learn…

how the industry works,

how (to build) a viable business …

how to (move) from a tiny bedroom operation

to being a company.”

And all this he did.

Today Jonathan Saunders is an

internationally renown fashion designer.

For several years he showed in New York but is now happily back

showing his collections at London Fashion Week.

He is known for his unique and innovative use of

colour, print and traditional methods of silk screening.

He states,

“I’m a colourist (using) colour to tell a story and have

the consumer(s) interpret it in their own way …

clashing (colours) gets me excited … colour exists already

(it is) how to combine colours (to make)

a new colour palette.”

Although technology can afford him

inventive methods of creating his textiles,

Jonathan still uses a traditional method of silk screening.

He finds, “a joy in the mistakes of (things) slightly crude.”

It seems a distinct and wonderful quality of beauty in

the perfection of imperfection

of which he greatly appreciates.

His fashion philosophy rests comfortably with

the organic, the natural, the fundamentals.

What’s next for Jonathan?

Further collaborations?

… only if there is something new to learn from the partnership.

New textiles?

… he tries to create a new textile each season.

Words of wisdom?

he states:

“… none of us really know what we’re doing.”

I’d  heard Jonathan speak at interview before –

 at the Vogue Fashion Festival 2013.

I liked him then and like him now …

even more.

For a/w 2013

Jonathan Saunders

The Collection

ladylike, colour impact

(images from vogue.com):

jonatha saunders, a13_JON0128.1366x2048 jonathan saunders, a13_JON0044.1366x2048 jonathan saunders, a13_JON0084.1366x2048 jonathan saunders, a13_JON0170.1366x2048 jonathan saunders, a13_JON0224.1366x2048