Dashing Tweeds: Interview with Guy
Celebrating British craftsmanship is at the heart of what Scot Street Style does as a platform and network for creatives to showcase their stunning work. Tailoring is one of those iconic British trades that has been anchored in our culture for centuries, and has evolved with each passing decade. Today, we look to the future and praise modernity by presenting to you the great work of the team at Dashing Tweeds.
Scot Street Style had the great opportunity to preview Dashing Tweed’s SS17 collection at London Collections: Men this season. Dashing Tweeds is fun, vibrant, of the best quality and meritorious of a place in British tailoring history. We have the privilege of learning more about the brand and its new collection through an interview with Guy the designer.
1. What was your inspiration for starting the brand, and where did the name come from?
My inspirations for starting Dashing Tweeds have come from several different directions. At the time of starting Dashing, I was working as a photographer in Savile Row. I was shooting the archives and current tailoring work of most of the tailors for the newly formed Savile Row bespoke organisation, and was absolutely delighted to see how exciting menswear used to be. The colours and textures of the cloths were much more interesting than I imagined and far more varied than fabrics currently in the tailors bunches. I was also cycling everywhere in London, and I was wearing a mixture of old tweed hand-me-downs and woven wools from Vivienne Westwood. I had this idea of creating a tailored city tweed which would combine heritage with technology, I thought a reflective tweed would be a perfect combination of old and new sportswear. A chance meeting with weave designer Kirsty McDougall then led to this becoming a reality and us setting up Dashing Tweeds
2. What do you think separates Dashing Tweeds from other brands focused on tailoring?
We have studied the way tailoring from the past solves problems of form and function such as how pleated jacket’s backs for shooting are made and the bias cuts of riding breeches. We have then been thinking about modern life and adapting the cuts to wear in today’s city. The bicycle has replaced the horse and the action elements of suits adapted to the multifarious tasks that are required in our networked lives. The main thing that separates us is that we are not beholden to any heritage. Being a new company, we can develop new shapes and fabrics which have a totally fresh esthetic.
3. What have your biggest challenges been in developing the brand?
Initially the hardest aspect was finding large scale mills to dye and weave smaller batches. We wanted to work with companies that could produce in volume when required, but also adapt to our niche demands.
Now we are finding that getting our brand out on the global market is the big challenge.
4. Have you had the pleasure of dressing anyone you particularly admire?
Not that I can think of right away but many of our customers are very talented musicians, writers and photographers whose work I admire greatly.
5. Your fabrics are woven in the Scottish borders. How do you think that elevates the quality of the garments?
The British quality of our fabrics are a vital part of the brand. The fact that so much care and expertise is applied at every stage of the process gives the cloth an unrivaled feel. The finishing of the fabric is also hugely important, and the fact that they are washed in water which originates from the river Tweed imparts something unique.
6. Have you ever come to Scotland to visit your weaving mills and, if so, how did you find it?
We have a team visit the mills and our yarn suppliers twice a year. It’s always a pleasure to talk to everyone involved in production and we often learn about new techniques and machines we can utilize. The fascinating thing about the mills is that they are always improving, although the basics of spinning, dying, weaving and finishing are unchanged for centuries the details are constantly modernizing.
7. Insouciant is a rare adjective to see used to describe a collection. What was the reason for using this particular word?
The perfect way to wear a tailored look is with a “devil may care”, relaxed attitude. This nonchalance imparts a feel that can best be described as insouciant. The summer months should be particularly laid back. With exquisite creative textiles and impeccable tailoring, you know you look good, so good that you don’t even have to try.
8. Your campaign images are unique for suiting. What made you choose this style of photography?
I chose to shoot our SS17 campaign in the studio with the dancer Lee Bridgeman. I wanted to convey a light, floating, effortless look.
9. Agnes Martin was a big inspiration for your designs this season. What about her work was inspiring to you?
All our seasonal designs start with woven fabrics. Kirsty and I both share a love of Agnes Martin’s work – the perfection of her compositions and interesting graphic forms, combined with her meditative philosophies seemed like a great starting point for our Insouciant Summer collection
10. Do you already have some ideas for the direction of your next collection?
We work more in advance than most companies as we have to design our own cloth as well as fashion styles. Next seasons collection is based on our experiences on the trip to China and some aspects of the works of Ai Weiwei.
It is clear that the creatives behind Dashing Tweeds take time and draw from profound sources of inspiration to create their collections, and are no stranger to British tailoring traditions. Their efforts to modernize tailoring and make it more adaptable show the progress which is being made in British fashion. The next time you think about investing in a new suit, Dashing Tweeds is here to help you stand out amongst tradition and create a beautiful, contemporary suit for modern life.
Photos and Text by: Nicholas Policarpo