London’s own: Gary James McQueen

Post fashion week- we sit down to interview Gary James McQueen, successful fashion designer who demonstrated his collection at the main exhibition in Fashion Scout. Trained in graphic design and experience working alongside his uncle, Alexander McQueen, the designer works to create some of London’s most iconic modern designs. With influence from the different life stages, read on to get a better understanding of McQueen’s work.

When did you first recognise how much of an interest you had in the fashion/the art industry?

“I didn’t study fashion and have no fashion degree. I wanted to study fine art, but was advised to study graphic design by the tutor. After graduating from college I worked at a publishing house for 3 years and was offered a job at Alexander McQueen MRTW after the company I was working for went in to liquidation. Although I didn’t have the relevant experience, I soon learnt to adapt my digital skills to the role and learned everything on the job very fast.”

Who are your biggest inspirations?

“Inspiration comes from lots of different aspects and really depends on what I am trying to achieve with the brief I have given myself. It’s my job to create new ideas and rarely look at other fashion designers for inspiration.”

If you can, tell us about your textile design experience alongside your uncle, Lee Alexander McQueen?

“As I mentioned, I was given the opportunity to work in Fashion by my uncle (Alexander McQueen). Really it was about learning to adapt the way I produced and translated my artwork, using the garments as a 3D canvas and working around the form and silhouette of the pattern pieces.  There was something magical about being able to tell stories through this visual narrative that people could wear and embody.”

You have been featuring at Fashion Scout during LFW, how did you feel about this and what did you want people to take away from your exhibition?

“For me it is about creating immersive experiences, much like my late uncle did with his theatrical shows. I try to create an emotional connection with the audience through a combination of Art/Fashion fusion. It’s all about visual story telling and everything I do is very considered. I create worlds for people to escape in to, for me this (art) is a place to leave politics and religion at the door.”

Your scarves are iconic, how do you process their design production?

“I try to create artwork that is timeless, and has a feeling of authenticity to it. The production process is quite laborious, and I have always insisted that whatever I create is of the highest quality possible. I have high expectations of what I want to see and what I would like to needs to feel special, something that you would keep forever.”

How do you develop and include your storytelling within your work?

“As an artist, the design process isn’t always straightforward. It takes time to develop ideas and everything starts as a feeling. It’s hard to explain, but I can see the final image of what I want to create in my minds eye, I then have to physically create this vision in to existence. It’s kind of strange..I can see the final image in my mind, but at the same time its more of an overall feeling of what I want to create, I then just have to work out the details of this.”


What inspires you most about death and re-birth, two main features within your work?

“Life, Death and Rebirth was the collection that I dedicated to my late uncle when I started building my own brand.
It’s not really that I am obsessed with this topic, I think people respond to this in a certain way because Death is quite easy to relate to in an emotional response. It affects us all. Maybe there is a certain darkness that could be associated with my work that is inherited, but I like to think of it more as romantic fantasy.”

Your 3D sculptures give your work an edge amongst other artists and fashion designers, which are you most proud of?

“The “Vanitas” Skull that I created for the “McQueen” documentary was really a turning point for me and it’s something that Im quite proud of. I wanted to translate the idea of life and death within one piece and the Vanitas paintings of the 17th century really embodied this for me. The process was myself digitally sculpting the skull, which was compiled of birds, moths and flowers to create the sillhoutte of the skull.  This was then 3D printed in resin (3.5ft high) and finished with gold leaf. We filled the skull with real flowers and was then shot by art photographer Dan Tobin Smith to capture the final image.”

What has been one of your biggest highlights of your career so far?

“It’s a long road and you have to keep chipping away. It’s still too early to be able to answer this..hopefully one day I can.”

What are you most looking forward to in the next year of your career?

“I have so many ideas that I need to bring together that it can get pretty crowded in my head, but Im working on a Kimono, new sculpture pieces, wall hangings and a Jewellery piece all part of my next collection. I love to bring everything together as a gallery experience, so Im hoping to have this all ready for early next year.”

Text: Ellie Botti, Gary James McQueen
Images: Gary James McQueen, Fashion Scout
Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Irina Gorskaia

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