Bradley Sharpe

“It has developed, suffered and excelled – all in one breath”

How could one forget the wearable gargantuan mantua tents that, no longer than a year ago, stole the spotlight of fashion?

We are talking about it today, and we’ll definitely be for a while. British designer Bradley Sharpe graduated from Central Saint Martins last summer, and his vision has not skipped a beat since. The visionary creator opened up to NR about the launch of his own brand, his debut collection and the responsibilities descending from being a contemporary designer.

Authenticity remains at the core of his priorities, admits Bradley. Not only are we looking at what we put out to the world, but, most importantly, what we say. A highlight of his process falls onto accountability as well – a gentle reminder that fashion should never be taken with a grain of salt – “It’s not just about you.”, to have a voice, implies responsibilities. Bradley Sharpe: get ready, you will not be bored.

Your graduate collection hit the world with a bang this past year, can you talk us through the inspirations and process behind it?

Working at a sex club to financially support my final year, I became fascinated by its unrestricted public hook up culture. I began looking into the historical aspects of hooking up and became fascinated when I discovered the tales of Molly houses and court events. I wanted to find a way to reinterpret the Mantua – a gown worn by aristocratic women in the 18th century – and, after coming across a tent in a charity shop, I naturally began pursuing its idea of volume.

That said, I’m quite a tactile person. My work is always inspired by a body of experiences or things that I’ve come across naturally… Nothing is ever forced, rather completely authentic. I also really liked the idea of a consumer buying a gown, but still having to literally build it themselves.

What hides inside these tents?

My sleep paralysis.

What inspires and pushes you to create?

I’m privileged to live in London. To be surrounded by relentless creativity which always pushes me to do more.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Probably working with some incredible people recently. From Lady Gaga and Tim Walker, to my fantastic and ever inspiring studio team.

Looking back at your experience at Central Saint Martins and Marc Jacobs in New York, how has your view on fashion changed?

This year alone, the industry has changed astronomically. It has developed, suffered and excelled – all in one breath. More than ever, the difference between then and now is that the future of fashion lies within its young designers.

“People are no longer looking towards the successful fashion houses for an opinion, they’re looking towards us”

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from it?

To be authentic.

Stepping into the world of fashion during such hard times must have demanded a lot of backbone. How have the first months of your career outside of university been?

It’s been a breath between exciting and manic. I’ve learnt so much by getting things – so – wrong: that is just the process of growing independently. I’m still so blessed to have a small team that’s so committed to the vision.

After my graduation (Ed.), it’s taken me a while to get started again: I am not in any rush to put out my debut collection. St. Martins felt so unnecessarily rushed. I cannot talk about, nor consider sustainability, if you’re going to work yourself or your team like a horse. Good things come at a good time, and I’m comfortable with that.

What are the biggest challenges for a young designer to start up their own brand?

It is probably about getting your head around the construction of a brand, and how to entirely build one from the ground up. Being an adult, configuring a business, it is totally different from being an 18 year old who just wanted to have their own brand. You can be street wise, but still, you have to be smart and make responsible moves. It’s not just about you.

What responsibilities descend from having a voice in contemporary fashion?

You have to be authentic and use your practice as a way to ascend your voice. Popular opinions aren’t necessarily always correct – just do what you want and say what you think.

We are all very excited for what is next to come. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been working on my new collection these past few months and it’s finally started to take shape. I cannot wait to share it with you very soon.



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