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A New York (Fashion Week) Minute: An Interview With Simon Spurr

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12 Questions with designer Simon Spurr.

OUT: How do you define success?
Simon Spurr: Success comes in many forms for me. Success is to create a product that I'm proud of. An honest product that reflects the craftsmanship and quality of brand, that is bought by the consumer out of love for the product. Whilst I'm extremely aware of building a business, I don't consider success as chasing dollar signs. By building a brand with integrity and by working hard every day, I hope that by doing my best will result in success.

What makes the Simon Spurr man?
I increasingly believe that the simple concept of "awareness" makes the man. I think the man that understands that the Simon Spurr brand understands quality, supports the new generation of menswear brands, and is aware of what goes into making the product and building the brand.

What was your inspiration behind this collection?
The autumn-winter 2012 collection is about the 'Distinguished Gentleman'. Building on the existing platform of British modernism, I was inspired by the distinctive aesthetic of the men in Robert Frank's photographs of London.

If you were not designing, what would you be doing?
There are so many things that I'd still like to do in my life. Right now I'm extremely committed to building a global fashion brand but at some point would love to venture into the worlds or art, architecture, furniture design, and even car design.

What are some other shows that you are looking forward to see?
My favorite shows are always Lanvin, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, and Prada. Each of these shows are distinctively different, but these are the shows that I feel direct the men's market and I view them to gain greater understanding of it.

When designing a collection what are some things that you keep in mind?
I always keep in mind the final use of the garment and the consumer who might buy it. Functionality through fit and fabric is paramount. I'm also conscious of my existing customer that supports the brand. Having pieces that will merchandize back to season in important. I'm definitely about evolution rather than seasonal revolution, especially whilst establishing the brand in the market.

What trends do you see big for this upcoming season?
Thankfully, I think it will be the season of the suit. This is a core component of my brand's aesthetic and it's great that other brands are helping support the rebirth of the suit. I also think the use of crocodile skins will play a role as they were used as accents in many collections.

What does this collection say about you personally?
This collection has great meaning and significance to me for a number of reasons. I feel that this season marks a turning point in the brand's future, and is the strongest yet from the house. There has always been a lot of my soul in the product, and this season more than ever.

How would you describe your personal style? Do you have a style icon?
My style is very clean. I'm probably considered a minimalist (which I don't mind), but I enjoy pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear values. I'm a modern man with modern values that designs modern clothes.

What made you decide you wanted to be a designer?
Actually my tutors were the ones that pushed me into fashion. I had ideas about going into conceptual design, packaging, illustration, or car design. I guess it coincided with a period in my life where I was also seeking some fashion individuality from my friends and it seemed natural. I applied to Middlesex University to study menswear, and was accepted.

Outside of being a designer, what are you passionate about?
It may sound cliche but I'm becoming much more environmentally and politically aware. I have developed a really strong attitude towards recycling, living a simpler life, and doing more for causes that have a more meaningful impact. It helps being married to a doctor as her work as a pediatrician keeps everything else around me in perspective.

What's the biggest challenge of your job?
I'd say that has to be international expansion of the brand at this price-point during a period where stores aren't taking as much risk. Many stores are opting to stay close to the "old guard" brands that consistently advertise and are familiar to the consumer. But I think there is a new customer that wants new brands that reflect their status and individuality. Expansion of my brand has been strong, meaningful and time released, but now my goal is to underline our position in the market and to take the brand global.

Learn more about Simon Spurr here.

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