For the July 2016 issue of DESIGN SCENE Magazine (out now in PRINT $23.90 & DIGITAL 2.90) our Fashion Features editor KATARINA DJORIC brings the London scene closer in her interview with the promising unisex designer JAMES HOCK. Katarina talks the term of unisex as well as inspiration and the future with the talented young designer.
How did you come to start your own line?
By accident, to be honest. The pieces I made for my finals were really well received but they were very conceptual show pieces, so I diluted what I had to create pieces for the stores and it just got rolling from there.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Basic, raw, easy, comfortable, safe, medieval, modern, minimal, directional.
What does your concept “new basics” mean?
It’s reinterpreting the basics to create a “new basics” based on the basics that we know – to create garments which have the same ease of wear as the concept of basics as we know and to create garments that form the base and components for layering.
Is it necessary to say that something is unisex today?
I don’t think so. But it’s human nature so I can understand the need to give everything a name or a category. The term unisex is very popular these days but it has come to denote oversized t-shirts and jumpers. I see my work as more of a masculine womenswear or feminine menswear, depending on how you look at it.
Where do you go for inspiration and how does that inspiration turn into reality?
It’s a cliché but it’s everywhere. Every day, you can see amazing things, beautiful things, really naff things and every now and then you’ll see something, be it good or bad, that just stays in your head. I never know why but I’ll keep thinking about it and slowly you digest and turn it into something that works for you. I like my influence to be remote so it’s very rarely obvious.
You were born in Malaysia, lived in Sydney, and than you moved to London. How did that multicultural experience influence your design?
I think you take elements that you picked up in your life with you and they mould you into the person that you are. And when you create, you channel that energy into your work. Again, it’s not always obvious but for me it’s always there.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Can you tell us something more about your aw16 collection?
There is an overarching element of rebellion or fight or flight in this collection and hence the military and survival influence. I explored the idea of fighting back, which is why there’s a strong nod to authentic militaria. Accessories have had a bigger influence than ever before; I wanted to create items that can be seen as a home comfort, and that’s why we have the wraps – particularly the crochet wrap, which could have been made by your gran – and smaller accessories, such as the crochet pouches. Patchwork quilt is a key element within the collection, derived from the idea that, during periods of war, luxuries such as fabric are limited, so making the most of the materials you have to hand is essential. For AW16-17, ‘New Basics’ present themselves in the form of customised t-shirts and sweatshirts, which can be worn in a variety of ways. I’m really happy with how the collection works together and the message it conveys, and I think there’s some real classics that you’re going to see us continue to develop season through season.”
I’m always a fan of the customized pieces so for this season we have the double sweatshirt dress (which can be worn as a top) and t-shirts with added rib-sleeves and fleece sleeves. And I think the patchwork-quilt pieces really stand out – especially the wrap which I have to say it’s proving to be very popular. And the oversized fleece pieces, I think I’m gonna be living in those come winter!
How do you see the future of the British fashion market?
I am no expert so I can only speak for our brand. For us, we are working to focus more on the ‘now’, the ‘this season’, so we could give our audience more and react better to their requests.
Who are your clients?
For a long time, we had more men buying into the brand than women, but I think we’re now getting a few more ladies buying James Hock but it’s definitely more equal.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
We would like to have our own store or studio with a store.
What is your motto?
Nobody cares, just do what you wanna do… and peace and love.
For more of James Hock log on to www.jameshock.com @followjameshock