Buro 24/7 Interview: Nicholas Kirkwood
Buro 24/7 speaks to the British Fashion Award winner
High heels, eclectic designs. Those who know and love recent British Fashion Award winner Nicholas Kirkwood's shoes are already well acquainted with his imagination.
How did you start your career?
It all started with a course in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London, before an internship at Philip Treacy. I was eighteen when I started. In the end I stayed with Tracy for five years. It was my first introduction to the world of accessories. While I worked for Philip, I saw a lot of stylish and elegant ladies, who would bring him bags and shoes to ensure they were getting a hat to match. This, as well as Tracy's creativity, led to the fact that I have an irresistible craving for craftsmanship. I left the studio and began to study footwear design at Cordwainers College. As a result, I found the courage to start my own line.
You did not plan to be a designer, though?
I knew I wanted to be artistic. However to be really honest, as soon as I took a course at Cordwainers, I realised how much I love shoe design and started doing it myself at home. My first collection identified the basis of my style. I took it to Paris, but never sold a single pair. Fortunately, now I think. After all, I'd made each shoe by hand and it's a lot of work!
What makes your shoes different?
The most important thing is an architectural element. I wanted that to be pervaded through the entire collection. There were doubts, of course, because the word "architecture" at a certain point it became very overused. But then I thought, "But this is what I do. I really do make architectural shoes." Experimentation in spirit, respect for manual labour, and a combination of new technology and traditional craftsmanship.
Who do you consider to be your peers?
I've worked a lot in the past with the British, such as Peter Pilotto and Erdem. Also with Sophia Webster, too, we have often collaborated. She was once my assistant, and we wanted to help her with her own line.
What is the most difficult thing about your job?
I think finding a balance between being a designer and be a businessman. Quality without compromise. I want my most creative work to be bestsellers too. But at some point comes the realisation that the most successful styles are basic models.
How do you approach the competition?
I hate the phrase that everything has already been done before. Those who claim that have surrendered. Today technology gives us so many opportunities to be different. Something really new is hard to do, and I live to create something that has not yet been before. That's my approach.