Hussein Chalayan is one of the most innovative and uniquely talented designers that the fashion industry has seen in decades. His collections always manage to seamlessly blend art, fabric technologies, and fashion into one garment. Unlike so many designers that are only about aesthetic, he is deeply knowledgeably about fabric properties and functions. Naturally his designs aren’t always the most saleable, so it’s impressive that he constantly sticks to his guns despite the economic state and push for ‘wearability’.
His last collection was titled “Earthbound” and was inspired by garment construction and construction sites. Only Chalayan could mix geology with such high-brow intellect and create covetable looks that go beyond purely conceptual. The designer is by no means oblivious to what is going on with the business side of the industry, and he is currently in New York working on a collaboration with high-end American denim label J Brand on three styles of jeans designed exclusively for Barneys New York. He has also, since February, been the creative director of Puma.
“I had been given other offers before that I didn’t think were good enough,” noted the British/Turkish Cypriot designer recently, “But this was a very good exchange, a strategic partnership. I felt if I didn’t do this, my brand wouldn’t move forward enough.” The designer has also inked a deal with Puma/PPR (PPR is a majority investor in Puma), who now owns a stake of his 18 year old namesake company. He has made the most out of this, however, not only benefiting financially, but making use of all the technological tools at the disposal of such a big conglomerate.
Most interestingly however, Chalayan has revealed that he is “weirded out” by all the models turned designers – “If you have a really strong sense of style and people want to aspire to being like you, I can understand that,” he says. “But if you really are doing it just because you think of yourself as a brand and you haven’t had the training and you know nothing about clothes, it kind of demeans all the training that designers have had.”
We could not have said it better ourselves…