An Interview with a Designer - Philip Start

by Mehmet Hassan • 16 Jun 2018

Juxtaposed against a thumping beat, the appropriately minimal presentation in the LFWM designer showroom has two models periodically swapping suits from a seemingly endless array of garments. Here we have artfully combined chic suits interspersed with casual shirts and beautiful knitwear.

“I like to break a suit up,” explains Philip Start, designer of Mr Start. “I wear a suit jacket with a pair of trousers. Sometimes I almost dress blind, I don’t know if it works, but lets see, right? It’s an experiment.”

Located in Shoreditch, Mr Start marks ten years at Rivington Street. Against an ever changing backdrop of East London, the stylish and immensely wearable tailoring reflects Start’s casual affect. Yet do not be fooled by his laidback attitude. Spend any time talking to Start and you soon get the sense of his astuteness with how his clothes fit in with todays fast moving society.

One’s clothing in many ways is a response to a variety of attitudes, lifestyles and mindsets; the very essence of style and fashion is in constant flux. “I think it’s a reaction to fashion more than anything else,” describing the Mr Start brand. “Fashion encompasses so many different areas, could be political, visual arts, musical, all sorts.

“Younger people see clothes differently from older people. They see mixtures of clothes differently so we’re trying to show there are ways of wearing our clothes, which aren’t just stereotypical, we’re trying to show that you can subvert the clothes in a way.”

The suit in many ways is a contradiction, seen by many as unfashionable, yet in popular culture it has undergone a revival. In an era of nostalgic looks over ones shoulder, where madmen dressed sharply, the image of the suit as a form of power dressing is a little too easy.

“I always encourage my customers to find their own style, and maybe wearing something a little bit miss-matched, but if you want to wear a grey suit, fine, wear a great grey suit, and look great.”

Yet the suit is seen by many as a uniform, restricting ones creativity, even freedom of movement. Dressed comfortably in a beautiful suit, Start challenges these concepts. “I think it's wonderful and elegant, but for a lot of people it's not wonderful and elegant, it’s a uniform, it’s a drudgery. I like to wear a suit, but people that don’t wear a suit can wear our clothes because they see them in a different way.”

Most importantly, we mustn’t forget it should be fun, and an extension of ones personality. A mischievous smile beams from Start: “If you look great, people think he looks great, he must know things.”



Mehmet Hassan

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