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Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Designer Alert: Dean Quinn

I first met Dean Quinn, who's just won the Womenswear Award at Central St Martins' BA graduation show, last year in New York when I was visiting Threeasfour, where he was interning. Having now finished his degree, he invited me to his London studio for a closer inspection, and here's what I learned.

The circulating crests of bugle beads that's become his signature came about by happy accident from a faulty measurement when arranging them in flat lines. The flashes of light that reflect from their staggered surface was inspired by sun shining onto skin through a blind in Bladerunner. The architectural shoulder silhouette—or the "Dean Shoulder"—was designed by exposing and stacking shoulder pads. Inside the jackets of his 50% hand-sewn collection is a complex network of tape to hold each piece in place so it lies flat on the body.

Dean's first foray into fashion was making a dress for his GCSE art project, which was lost on his conservative high school. But he sought out a mentor and, at only 16, traveled from Ireland to to London to intern with Zandra Rhodes. There he was put to work painting pattern designs and found out about applying to Central St. Martins. Fast forward eight years to his win—and on his birthday, no less.

—Fred Butler

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