"Dubai is something we're very proud of" – Teatum Jones
Ones to watch
M eet Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, the dynamic design duo behind the British contemporary brand, Teatum Jones. With just two weeks until their first combined men's and women's wear collection show at London Fashion Week, Teatum and Jones took ten minutes out to speak to Buro 24/7 Middle East about the brand's new direction, their Woolmark Tour and opening their first Dubai door, Boutique 1...
You've just announced that you're merging your mens and womens collections, which follows suit in an industry-wide shift. What are you hoping to achieve with the new direction?
Since winning the International Woolmark Prize at New York Fashion Week in February our business has pretty much changed over night. We've been working with a renowned business strategist on the next stage of growth and menswear was always part of our ongoing conversation as designers, so now seemed the perfect time to launch our debut menswear capsule. It also seemed like a natural move to have men's and women's presented together on our debut catwalk show at London Fashion Week. Sometimes there are things, that as designers, you don't need to articulate or explain in a heavily intellectual way, you simply feel it in your gut and you're compelled to follow your instinct.
The move comes at a time when you're debuting your first menswear collection. What can we expect from the new offering and will it mirror the women's aesthetic or have a story of its own?
Not many people are aware of this but Rob and I actually met designing in Italy working on a menswear mainline collection. Masculinity has always been present within our womenswear collections, both in attitude but also in shape, particularly in our signature outerwear shapes. We create bold exquisite fabrics and marry these with cool relevant shapes so the concept of pragmatism has always stepped in during previous collections. There is a no nonsense functionality to menswear that we find very sexy. There will be a lot of cross over and the collection is all coming from one story of inspiration — the human story.
In a slew of first's you're also showing at London Fashion Week for the first time. What's the vibe in the Teatum Jones studio at the moment?
Excitement and drive! There is so much story telling behind our inspiration and it feels great that now we can tell the story fully.
Congratulations on winning the Woolmark prize this year too. What piece of advice or feedback did the judges give you that you keep reflecting back on?
The amazing and lovely Julie Gilhart gave us some pre-prep advice before entering the judging room: "be confident, passionate and fearless, as you are talking about your work there is no wrong or right." We take that with us in every decision.
You're debuting your current collection first at Boutique 1 in Dubai this September. What can we expect from the collection in stores here and which aspect of the brand will resonate most with the Middle Eastern market?
We have always had a great following and also support from women in this region, especially private clients. We love bold colours and textures, which I think Middle Eastern women are not afraid to wear. They make bold choices in their clothes, which is perfect for the Teatum Jones women.
To be available in Dubai is something we're very proud of.
Will you also be introducing more of your collection in the Middle East or is this a one-off?
Most definitely. This is just the beginning.
You've often spoken about creating a 'shoppable' collection. Does this mean you'll also be offering runway-to-retail straight from Fashion Week?
There's so much change in the industry at the moment that it's a really exciting time. It means we can think outside of the box and try out new ways of working. We are not ready just yet for runway to retail but we have lots of other ideas up our sleeves.
We've heard you describe your work space as 'fearless'. Personally, what's something you're petrified of?
Catherine: Fear itself. Fear hinders progression.
What are your daily rituals for getting ready for a collection preview?
Catherine: Making sure I have my perfume.
Rob: I have to have a hair cut 24 hours before the show.
What's next for Teatum Jones in 2017?
Our Woolmark Tour, we are visiting the stores we will be launching in: Dubai, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, Seoul and many more places.