Wednesday, March 21, 2012
ALONG with many of his designer peers, from Christopher Kane to Marc Jacobs, Erdem has been mooted for the Dior job - but he refuses to be drawn into fashion's ongoing pressure on young designers to leave their labels and join established fashion houses.
"Anything like that is a compliment," the designer told us last night, "but you just have to concentrate on your job and what you're doing."Speaking after a "nerve-wracking" Royal College of Art public talk with Colin McDowell - as part of the Fashion Fringe Roadshow - the designer offered an insight into his background, his time at the RCA and why he, very sadly, won't be launching a high street collection any time soon.
"It's never been the right moment," said Erdem. "If it works for some people, then that's wonderful - but it depends on where you're at. For me, it's really important to concentrate on your collection and your own work. Once you start looking at versions of your work, it can get a bit dangerous. One can do it really well and in an interesting way though."Upon leaving the Royal College of Art, the London-based designer moved to New York where he worked as a design assistant at Diane von Furstenberg. A year later he returned to London to launch his own label and a few months later, in September 2005, he won the Fashion Fringe prize. He has built up an impressive roll call of celebrity fans, from the Duchess of Cambridge to Michelle Obama, but it's the broadness of his work's appeal that really excites him.
"I'm really lucky - and it's a real compliment - that women of all ages wear my clothes," he said. "Michelle Obama wore one skirt of mine about five years ago and I am still associated with that and that's wonderful. When I started at the RCA I never thought I'd be doing things like that."
Now known as one of London's best-loved and most talented designers (there aren't many women who would pass up the chance to wear one of his beautifully printed, feminine dresses), what advice would he given his younger self?
"I'd say, 'everything will be ok.' I worried so much - I'm a real worrier," he admitted. "I'd tell everyone actually that they're going to be ok, actually more than ok - they'll be amazing."
"Its so nice to be back here," he told us afterwards. "This is where it all began for me."