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How was his first collection perceived?
- It was successful.
- It was criticized.
- It was sold.
Presenter: Today in our studio we have a fashion designer John Wray. Good afternoon, John!
John Wray: Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Presenter: Do you think true invention in fashion is still possible?
John Wray: I think of fashion as something that is developing. It is a continuation and it is constantly new. It does change, but there’s no invention. Everything has been done one way or another. And many designers are inspired by ancient clothes to begin with. But I think the world of fashion has changed a great deal in the last couple of decades.
Presenter: You were known to control all aspects of your company. Was it difficult to give it all up in 2013 when you sold the company?
John Wray: Well, I worked on every detail and every aspect of the business to see that we could offer people the best of what we could do. I thought for a long time as the business grew, “Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life?” And I knew it was not. I had done almost everything I wanted to do in terms of creation of products. And re-doing was less fun.
Presenter: Does a creative director of a fashion house still need to be a designer or is it perhaps enough these days to simply give direction and represent the brand well?
John Wray: I can’t think of one house that has a creative director that didn’t start out designing. You’re involved in every aspect of the creation of the product with design studios. I think it’s much harder to expect a person who was not a designer to oversee development of fashion products. It’s better to be a designer.
Presenter: Where did you get that creativity from?
John Wray: Well, I do think you need to be doubted in order to be creative. But there are so many ways to be creative now, it could be lecture, it could be music, it could be films. But really, I just got that creativity from myself, didn’t I? That’s what it is, my childhood experiences were so important. Besides, I grew up looking at amazing designers who did amazing clothes so I respect them and I respect myself not to just throw out stuff. It needs to mean something.
Presenter: What was your initial reaction when your first collection was criticized by one of the biggest newspapers in the UK?
John Wray: It was really terrible. When you’ve just done your first show, you have no money, you’ve just done this big push and then it’s like, “Is this really for me? Maybe I should be doing something else with my life.” It was the first collection I’d ever made outside of the university, I got friends to help, my family was helping and those people made me realize that it was good to split opinions.
Presenter: What does it take to have the true taste?
John Wray: We often say some things are good taste or bad taste, but who’s to really judge what is good taste and bad taste? I would say it’s really subjective; taste is in the eye of the people. But the true taste is something that is yours and I think that takes the time to discover. For me, comparing from when I started my career and my company to now, I think I have a much more sure idea of who I am and what my house represents.
Presenter: Are you analytical and thoughtful when you are designing?
John Wray: When you’re less secure in yourself, and when you’re younger, you tend to be more analytical. A lot of your education is about theory, so you tend to be a lot more analytical and you tend to think more. And the more confident you become with knowledge, you make decisions more decisively. A lot of the thinking is happening while you’re doing, but you’re not just sitting there contemplating, “What will I do?” You take small steps that no one really notices, but if you hadn’t taken those steps it would never lead you to where you are.
Presenter: Thank you, John!