Okay, let's talk about the dark moments.
Yeah, sitting on the dole back in my hometown and thinking, Fuck, what the hell am I going to do? I couldn’t get a job. I had no experience, just a book of interesting images. I went for a few really shocking interviews for shit money during the ten months I was there.
Is that why you actually did return to St Martins for your MA?
Well, not really. I knew my dole time was coming to an end and they were going to start making me work at Tesco. But I couldn’t afford to do the MA without a bursary or something. Then I went to see Louise [Wilson, MA Course Director] and she said, "Why the fuck don’t I know who you are?" And that was that. She offered me a place and I got a scholarship.
Did you find it easy to get back into design?
I knew the MA wasn’t some big shiny ticket to a job. I thought I would have to reinvent myself, but I just did what I was good at. I had spent time with Kim, Richard [Nicoll] and Jonathan [Saunders], so I knew that I really had to work hard.
Did you go back to the pop imagery that inspired you as a kid?
Yes, which was hard as I hadn’t looked at it in ages. I was worried that what I was doing was too simple, not a Fashion Week collection. Also, lots of people do sportswear, but I wanted to do sportswear with the finish of Louis Vuitton. It has to be a luxury product. I’m never going to sell in Sportsworld.
Are there any designers who you rate now?
I really like Bernhard Willhelm and Martin Margiela, because even if it looks intimidating, it's really accessible. I got really into Helmut Lang when I was at college. Those collections were really well thought-out, but without the excessive drama. You can also see in my collections that I like Moschino, skater clothing and a bit of ostentation. Apparently there was a time when Versace sold more in Liverpool than any other non-capital European city, so I was surrounded by that kind of ostentatious fashion growing up.
You’re going into your third season at MAN. What are you thinking for spring?
It’s been a hard slog, but I’ve had loads of support from Reebok, Eastpak, Topman and ASOS. So I think we'll keep with what we've been doing, develop the prints more and bring in the work we’re doing with Reebok and Eastpak. I’ll take risks, but now I don’t feel like I need to grab headlines by being tricksy. I know that there is a void for the type of work that I do and a lot of people are into it.