What attracted you to the Burberry brand?
The heritage, the history, the stoicism of the brand, the philosophy of the brand, the democracy. It's a very democratic company. The culture of the brand you know it's very open, very warm, very embracing, and that was attractive to me. I love the fact that the brand spoke to so many people, so many backgrounds, so many cultures and ways of living life.
Is Burberry to the English what Chanel is to the French?
Yeah, I think it's part of who you are when you grow up. I bet, in everybody's family, somebody at least owns something from Burberry, whether it's an old trench coat or a scarf or something.
Did you own any Burberry when you were younger?
I owned trench coats, yeah. My grandfather owned a Burberry trench coat as well. When I got the call about Burberry, I was like, "Whoa, this could be unbelievable." It just kind of felt so clear to me how much there was that needed to be explored.
In terms of menswear, what do you add to make it modern?
So much of it is proportion, fit and fabric. In terms of fabric, so much now is about seasonless fabrics, and historical fabrics were generally much heavier. So a lot of it has been about innovation with fabric. Proportion has also changed completely, as it does throughout generations. And generally everyone is going toward a slimmer fit, whereas historically menswear has been bulkier.
You have said you don't want Burberry to look "designer." What do you mean?
I don't want clothes to feel precious. Clothes need to feel like they're living and breathing. They shouldn't be put behind a picture frame. They should become a part of you.
How did you get into fashion?
I never intended to. It was kind of weird. I didn't love school. I wasn't particularly academic. I loved English, and I loved design, and I loved art. I loved stupid things like geology, and we actually did architecture at my school, and I love all those kinds of things. My art teacher basically without my knowing sent my artwork off to art school, and it accepted me, and I ended up going to this art school, and I just ended up in the fashion department.
Who are the designers you admire most?
Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Dries Van Noten. I like Cappellini, in terms of furniture. Vincent Van Duysen, a Belgian architect. I do love architecture, but I like music as well, and I classify that as design too.
What music do you like?
I'm kind of a fool with music. I like so many different types of music you know, Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone. And then I love Vampire Weekend.
If you weren't designing, what do you think you would be doing?
Probably something with architecture. Also, something that I've always wanted to do is drystone-walling. In the Yorkshire countryside, we have these walls that are made of stone, and they're really beautiful. It's an old craft, but it's a dying craft. But I've always wanted to learn it. I think there is something very soulful about the earth and about rocks. This may sound silly, but it's something about the solitude in the reflection of touching those stones and putting them together. It's such a contradiction to the life that I lead now, which is so chaotic. I love the thoughtful process of that.
Are there other brands that you admire?
I'm a huge Apple fan. There is such integrity with that brand. I love the consistency of its message. I love everything about its stores, its packaging, the experience when you walk into its stores. It just does everything with such conviction.
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