On Sunday of LFW AW19, I managed to interview designer Simon Mo during his AW19 presentation. We talk about everything from self-diagnosis and modern medical culture to sustainable fashion and his design process.
The presentation space was filled to the brim with guests eager to check out Simon Mo’s latest addition to his increasingly impressive fashion back catalogue. The collection was awash with soft pastel pinks and oversized houndstooth print clashed with postbox red. After seeing citrus hued tartans and bamboo handle bags, I couldn’t wait to see what Simon had to say about his AW19 collection.
Natalie: What was the main inspiration for this collection?
Simon: It’s about pharmacy pollution and how too many pills are manufactured and consumed. It considers bringing back a natural balanced diet. Specifically looking at the designs, I wanted to acknowledge witchcraft and research into ancient Chinese herbology.
N: That makes sense with the magnifying glasses and science goggles. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
S: I selected these props to represent how I think we should be our own doctor and herbalists. We should focus more on self-diagnosis. We should know how to cure ourselves instead of being so easily influenced. There are a lot of campaigns and so much advertising that tells you what you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat. In recent years we’ve become progressively insecure because of this – we don’t really know our own bodies anymore. My clothes in this collection are a metaphor for this idea. It’s a sarcastic comment that we can actually be quite stupid! We are not aware of ourselves.
N: I agree! We don’t realise that we have the strength to cure ourselves without reaching for the box of paracetamol.
S: Of course. We go to the pharmacy and read a list of endless ingredients, thinking that just by seeing medication we will be cured and instantly feel better. It’s like we think we can be cured visually. You feel like you are healed on the outside but internally and mentally that isn’t the case. So you take unnecessary medication and the vicious cycle continues.
N: What methods to you use in your design approach – how do you get to the final result?
S: This really depends on that season’s target but normally I create my designs with the vision of how I want it to look at the very end of the manufacturing process. I start with sourcing the fabric – I want it to be very comfortable to wear so I pay more attention on pattern-cutting than style.
N: Yes, there are a lot of pieces that are ideal for evening wear as well as day wear. The leggings are quite athleisure but then the overcoats are really sophisticated workwear, too. And I love the bags! There are so many textures and materials going on.
S: Yes, I try and use various materials in every collection.
N: And that reminds me, I realised that with your last collection Seas the Day, you pay a lot of attention to sustainability. How does this collection directly acknowledge ecological issues?
S: I’m a fan of not using fur or leather and I try to source recycled materials that I can combine into the fabric to make it appropriate for casual wear. My desire for this collection’s designs was to be very versatile.
And he definitely delivered – congratulations to Simon for once again delivering a collection with thought and promise for the future of fashion.
What was your favourite ensemble from Simon’s fascinating AW19 collection?
Text: Natalie Zannikos
Images: Angie Farrell, Toni & Guy