Interview: Clara Martin

This season London Collection Mens opened its doors to the best and the boldest in Emerging & Streetwear designers. The meticulous showroom – situated in the Hospital Club, Covent Garden – gave designers from all walks of life the opportunity to showcase their designs. Each of them keen to tell the story of how their brands came to be.

One designer, whose colourful rail caught my attention, was none other than Menswear designer Clara Martin. Prior to LC:M Clara has had her work showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week and Graduate Fashion week, proving that an ardent work ethic plays a huge role in the fashion industry. Among her many successes, this year Clara released a fashion film, which presented her AW15 collection inspired by ‘boy scout culture’. The film was displayed at a screening theatre in the W Hotel and was incredibly well received.

Amongst all the hustle and bustle of LC:M, I stole a moment with the London born designer – one of 17 to be featured in the Emerging & Streetwear showroom – to discuss her latest collection, the inspiration behind it and her career as a designer so far.

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LR: What was the theme behind this collection?

CM: It was all based on the idea of a reluctant coming of age story, and hoarding your childhood.

LR: How did you first get into design?

CM: My grandmother and mother were both designers, but I remember hating all things to do with a sewing machine. It wasn’t until I was at secondary school when I started turning every art project into a fashion project, and I felt like it was instinctive for me to explore the fashion route.

LR: Where do you usually gain inspiration?

CM: I usually gain inspiration by looking back into my childhood memories and habits. I try to engage people with my collections by telling a story of a nostalgic time by using vices such as lego, sesame street characters or boy scout clubs and getting them all to remember a happier and easier time.

LR: Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

CM: I studied Fashion firstly on a Foundation course at Chelsea College of Art & Design, and then went onto do my BA at Middlesex University.

LR: How has your work evolved since beginning your brand?

CM: My work has become a lot more receptive to what men enjoy wearing. I enjoy when men are surprised that something so colourful and crafted looks good on them, and that moment they start to see themselves in my clothes is the moment I’m inspired.

LR: So what makes your clothing different?

CM: I make everything by hand, so everything is very sentimental to me. What makes my clothes different is the fact that they all stem from a concept as opposed to anything else. They all come from one vision of wanting to see men in a more creative and expressive clothes, and ultimately providing men with alternative options other than formalwear and sportswear. 

LR: Why Menswear?

CM: I feel as though there is so much more to do with Menswear. There are so many more looks to create, so many more mindsets and opinions to provoke and so much more history to make. I just want to be a contributor to the change in Menswear.

LR: What can we expect from you next?

CM: My focus is to continue building my brand, my team and the idea that the brand will become known for. There is still a lot to do, but I am excited for the future!

LR: Best compliment you’ve received on your work this season? 

CM: Well Tinie Tempah walked past my rail this season, and was pretty impressed by the fact I made everything myself. He mentioned that he was “overwhelmed”, which was definitely a highlight.

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