If there’s one thing that London does well, other than 24-hour kebab shops, it’s finding and supporting great new design talent. Schemes like NEWGEN have been doing this for years, but the menswear branch of the sponsorship program is a relatively new thing. We caught up with their latest talent Alex Mullins, to talk us through his aesthetic and why us Londoners are more than just bad teethed, pearl wearing, holey jumper loving, aristocrat chimney sweeps.
Alex Mullins may be a newcomer on the scene, but he has had some impressive experience behind closed doors. First working for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Diane von Furstenburg after graduating from the Royal College of Art, Mullins launched his eponymous label in 2013. Quickly snapped up by NEWGEN, his quirky style has seen him on the fast track to success. The Wild West, Cowboys and rebel Malibu gangs all make him tick. Get in the know before he blows up, because it won’t be long.
For those who don’t know, how would you describe your aesthetic?
Graphics, classics, cowboys and textile applications.
You worked for some impressive designers before starting your own line. What were the biggest lessons your learned during this time?
Don’t be scared to change your mind, go with your gut, and be impulsive. Also that all ideas are worth something, so don’t be too quick to chuck them away.
I’m a big fan of your autumn/winter 14 collection. Which pieces are you most proud of?
I think the face bomber and the orange silk distressed jeans and jacket are my fave pieces.
Where did you get the inspiration for it?
It’s a mixture of things really. The core of my brand is a fascination with the Wild West and native America, but each season I bring that core to a different time and place, bringing to life the characters from my narrative. For autumn/winter 14 it was about a reclusive artist in London, 1974. I was trying to capture an artistic, eccentric creativity in a silent way. He became a complete egocentric in the end, thinking he had actually become his own work.
How did you first get involved with the NEWGEN scheme?
I started meeting with a marvelous man at the BFC called David Watts, who suggested I apply for NEWGEN’s new initiative ‘Ones to Watch’. I ended up going on to be awarded the title, which allowed me to showcase my autumn/winter 14 collection in The Hospital Club during London Collections: Men this year.
Why do you think sponsorship schemes are so important for young designers and what are you hoping to get out of it?
The sponsorship platforms like NEWGEN are vital to young designers. They provide guidance and exposure for designers who are in greater need of a higher volume of voice. I’m hoping to gain more stockists and exposure, to enable me to progress to the next stage of my brand and to encourage future collaborations.
Is there any added pressure now you will be showing to a larger audience?
OF COURSE! I always think that being nervous and excited is pretty much the same feeling. So right now, I’m persuading myself that it is excitement.
The menswear scene in London is growing stronger every season. What is it about the city that inspires such great design?
Our stereotype in other countries is that we are bad teethed, pearl wearing, holey jumper loving, aristocrat chimney sweeps. But the reality in London is that it is so diverse, that I really don’t think there is a dominant stereotype or style choice across such a diverse multitude of ethnicities. I find the great London designers are always about creating their own mixing pot of identity, which translates directly from the landscape and social environment that surrounds us.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from you for spring/summer 15?
Rebel gangs in Malibu.