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Interview: Hamish Morrow

by Penny Martin .

I find it personally liberating to delegate control. My own personal approach is very precise and controlled. Injecting accident chance and surprise to the equation liberates me.

Penny Martin: Where do you think your interest in fashion 
came from?

Hamish Morrow: The glamour of Pop music.

PM: In what way has your (most recent) training in Menswear design influenced how you design for women?

HM: It provides a technical depth that is sometimes lacking in Womenswear design.

PM: You have said that your work is entirely ideas-based. Where do they come from?

HM: Anywhere and everywhere but predominately contemporary avant-garde practice.

PM: There is a strong sense of continuity that links your collections: particularly your rich use of colour, high-tech fabrics and extreme sports themes. Do you view each collection as separate from the last?

HM: No, everything is an evolution.

PM: Yachting is the inspiration for your Spring/Summer 04 collection. How does this translate into the garments?

HM: Through the use of yachting hardware, overlapping of transparency of spinnakers, sheer glazed light sail fabrics. Couture hand knotted ropes. Plastic sail geometry for shoes, asymmetric sail panels.

PM: You are collaborating with the photographers Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton-Jones, graphic multimedia artists UVA and SHOWstudio on a very different way of presenting your catwalk show. How did this collaboration originate?

HM: It began as most collaborations do, through mutual appreciation of each other's work and through casual dialogue sparking off an energetic exchange of ideas.

PM: The presentation inverts the traditional magazine editorial role, whereby live imagery of your show is being projected onto models and turned into clothing. Can you explain this process and its relevance to the collection?

HM: We explore print for the first time; we use digital technique in print. To take the idea of digital print further, we explored the concept of manipulating film imagery of models, projecting these back on to a back drop to create a poetic digital shadow of the real images in front of the audience. As a further expiration of 3-D print, we are exploring the idea of projecting print onto a blank canvas of a garment, achieving the reality of a 3-D print and virtual print and a printing material. Justifying the normal realm of a print that is static frozen.

PM: The notion of 'imaged clothing' is quite controversial, as some fashion theorists contend that pictures of clothing satisfy consumers' appetites, preventing them from buying the garments themselves. Do you think fashion photography can be harmful in this way?

HM: No, because fashion photography just sells the dream and projects the concept and illusion of glamour. When a consumer buys high fashion they do not buy into the real function of that garment, but rather they buy into the perceived value of glamour.

PM: You project a very singular vision, both in your designs and in interviews. How does it feel to delegate control to image-makers over the representation of your work?

HM: As mutual respect already exists, I find it personally liberating to delegate control. My own personal approach is very precise and controlled. Injecting accident chance and surprise to the equation liberates me.

PM: You are broadcasting the entire experience of your catwalk presentation on SHOWstudio. Does it change the nature and meaning of the event to open it up to an international audience?

HM: Of course it does, and this will be one of the ways to liberate London from its positioned second or third in importance within the show calendar schedule.