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Serge DeNimes AW15: Candid Talks To Oliver Proudlock
September 14, 2015
Candid Magazine’s fashion features editor Mikael Jack talks to Oliver Proudlock as the Serge DeNimes autumn/winter 2015 collection launches.
Pop-ups are becoming something of a fixture on London’s fashion scene. The formula is usually predictable: a cool East End warehouse, former brewery or shipping container; a launch party, fuelled by drinks sponsors and attended by the friends and fans; then the limited time that customers have to shop while the PR project remains open, fizzling out until the next cool new idea takes over.
So when an invite arrived in my inbox to attend the Serge DeNimes autumn/winter 2015 launch event at The Space by SFD, the Charlotte Street address came as a surprise – such central locations rarely deemed cool enough for a streetwear favourite like Serge – as did the fact that this was not a pop-up as such, despite even more design effort being put into the West End location than anything Box Park has had to offer in the past.
Titled ‘Concrete Jungle’ and accompanied by a video and campaign shot in the most iconic concrete structure London has to offer – The Barbican – autumn/winter 2015 sees more growth and some new additions for the brand in its sixth year. The “pop-up” space to celebrate the launch mirrors the theme – concrete, neon, acrylic screens, wood, metal and foliage which wouldn’t look out of place in Dover Street Market, surrounding and displaying the product – with a central hub incorporating a bar, Serge’s premium accessories and jewellery lines, and the looped campaign video. It was the place to be seen that week.
In amongst press appointments and before the evening’s party, oversubscribed with an eclectic mix of cool and cooler, the brand’s founder Oliver Proudlock and I sat down to chat about the autumn/winter collection. We ran of course, discussing his past and future ambitions, life in general – most of which will not be printed due to embarrassment and/or legal reasons – and why he chose to break with the usual pop-up formula.
MJ: Last season you introduced a bit of colour to the Serge line, and it seemed like your focus was changing to make a more complete collection. What are the move-ons for AW15?
OP: The last collection was a bit of a shift for us in terms of design. It was stripped back and adding the colour and print was certainly a change from our usual monochromatic colour palette. We also focused more on the cuts and details. The feel of the garments, the quality and variations were really important to us. We haven’t gone out there with the colours this time – khaki, burgundy and blue sitting alongside the classic black, white and grey – but it feels right for the collection and the season. There are some basic pieces too as well as our better-known logo styles.
Hanging in the concrete and Perspex-lined room, the collection definitely feels more complete and considered than previous seasons. The colour capsules grouped together offer bold statements that split up the offer, and tangible quality in the cottons and technical fabrics attest to Ollie’s vision. Details like the placement of logos – on the bottom of long-line tees that would be worn under a shorter sweat or jacket in winter – show that there has been some thought given to the wearer’s wardrobe building ability. But what Ollie seems most excited about, its absence due to a late delivery, is the denim, which will be a first for the brand this season.
MJ: Why the wait OP?
OP: Don’t! It’s been a very long process. I wanted to launch denim from the start, hence the brand’s name, Serge De Nimes, but it has taken us this long to get it perfect, and it had to be perfect for us to launch it. One style will launch, in three classic washes – vintage, raw indigo, black – and I’m really excited to see the reaction. I’ve always been obsessed with denim; my mother had a denim business while I was growing up and I’ve always been surrounded by it, learning about it, and so it was always something I wanted to do.
MJ: What pieces are you most excited about?
OP: The denim is an obvious one. It’s hard to pinpoint others, but we have added in some more elements to some of the pieces too, like viscose paneling on tops and and technical fabrics in the outerwear. We have also continued our jewellery collection too and other accessories like the hats and phone covers too.
MJ: Speaking of those Beckham-approved iPhone covers, who would you most like to see wearing Serge on your News Feed?
OP: Pharrell sets the trends, doesn’t he? Johnny Depp, A$AP Rocky, one of those three would be nice. At least we can tick the Beckhams off the list.
A few days before we met, the Proudlock x Sju collection of bowler hats had launched, and was sitting prominently in Topman’s Oxford Circus flagship as well as The Shop at Bluebird. The latest in a long line of collaborations (Ollie has previously worked with brands and designers such as jeweller Theo Fennel and iconic men’s clothing and footwear brand Oliver Sweeney and others), this one came around quite organically after meeting Sju at her London Collections: Men showroom and clicking both with the designer and her wares.
MJ: You don’t seem to want to stick yourself in one box, branching out to different fields like headwear, footwear and jewellery through your partnerships with other designers. Is this something that you would like to continue, or have you ticked everything on your list?
OP: Definitely not everything! I would love to do collaborate with an eyewear brand. That’s my aim for 2016 so watch this space. I love the creativity and the outcome that comes with teaming up with someone and their ideas. Anything creative really interests me, whether it’s fashion, art, music or otherwise.
MJ: You have stepped out from behind the Serge De Nimes name and done most of these projects under your own name, how does that feel? Is that something you are working on too, with proudlockstyle.com and these collaborations?
OP: The proudlockstyle.com thing is just me, my style and who I am loving at the time. I have teamed up with some brands, doing Instagram takeovers with River Island, Diesel and Whistles, which is a really nice chance to connect with their followers, and there are a few more coming soon. Doing it under my own name makes it much more personal. But under the Serge name there is still a lot going on other than the clothing. Our blog features items we are into each week – from sport and fashion highlights, to music videos and films – and the ‘Serge Meets’ series is us getting to know cool people we come across through Serge.
MJ: How has this process been, presenting the collection in a new way for this season with SFD?
OP: We met the guys from SFD at our last launch for SS15 and really hit it off. We had a chat about working on something for the next collection, met up again about it later to discuss some ideas, and then it kind of took of from there. Our collection is called Concrete Jungle, and I think the guys have nailed it. It really brings the theme of the collection to life and fits so well with the AW15 campaign images and video which were shot in The Barbican, there’s a bar in there too, it’s amazing. It’s exactly the kind of thing we have wanted to do for years, every time we have launched with a retailer or done pop-ups in the past. I’m really happy to have built the relationship with them and look forward to doing more.
The autumn/winter 2015 collection is available now on sergedenimes.com and selected stockists.