Words Alba García
What’s your perspective towards the constant change in the fashion industry?
Constant change in the industry is part of the reason I want to be involved in it but I think the amount of collections designers are expected to deliver in one year begins to shift focus from creativity to productivity.
What was your first experience within fashion?
My earliest memories of being fascinated with garments were seeing my Grandmother making dresses. She worked as a seamstress and made wedding dresses for a shop my mother owned. She would cut patterns out on the floor at her house and I would play with scraps of fabric with my sister. My grandma made all of her own clothes when she was younger, maybe it runs in the family.
What is the key of your creative process?
Research. I think this is the most important thing. I make books of images, fabrics and things I find fascinating and keep them clipped together and always have them with me.
What do you intend to communicate through your work?
That is for the audience to decide.
What do you consider are the elements that add a special value to a collection?
Combinations of techniques and working with lots of other people. It’s never just me.
What other elements like music or photography interfere when you are developing a collection?
I constantly listen to music when I’m working. I usually listen to some Metal in the morning to wake me up and something somber in the evening.
On your last collection we see a lot of colour, what is your relation with it?
Colour can entirely change the interpretation of an entire collection. In the last collection I used colours extracted from my research. The challenge was making them work together.
What’s your relation with experimenting through clothes and textiles?
I usually start by making a swatch, a piece of something, making a fabric. Then figure out how it will be a garment later.
Why did you select the AIDs epidemic as the main subject of inspiration in this collection?
The epidemic is not over, HIV infections have risen in recent years, and there is still stigma, ignorance and a lack of education. Researching the epidemic was educational. When you see the collection it isn’t obvious where my research started. I didn’t want it to be obvious.
I was inspired by the use of graphic design as social activism during the epidemic and the involvement of artists and creatives who made the protest visual, they filled it with colour and life, it could not be ignored. The activists were dying whilst they protested and ultimately achieved something phenomenal.
Do you have the same aesthetics when you are working on women and men?
Yes. No. Depends.
How does Niall Cottrell designs differ from others in the industry?
I guess my focus is different. I’m not at a point in my career where I need to sell hundreds of units. That makes things different.
What are some of the internships you have been in?
I completed internships at Burberry and Alexander Wang working in womenswear and at Calvin Klein and Loewe in menswear.
Who are your biggest influences?
Raf, Walter, my mum.
Who are the 3 upcoming designers we should all know about?
Roberta Einer, Matthew Witcombe and Suzy Babington. Suzy is not a designer, she is a painter and an amazing artist, I have known her for many years. She is based in Edinburgh and I advise you all to check her out.
Who are you?