Josef McFadden - Designer Spotlight
Menswear, for the fashion conscious, typically invokes imagery of tailoring in neutral tones. For many, the inclusion of tweed in a menswear collection can be seen as adventurous. Being honest, it sometimes can get a little bit drab. Scottish menswear designer, Josef McFadden is set to disrupt the industry with arsenal of illustration. We caught up with Josef McFadden to find out more about his new label (launched in February 2016) and what we can expect from the brand in the near future.
Tell us all about Josef McFadden! Why did you decide to launch your own label?
I studied print in the Scottish Borders, at the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design. When I finished my studies and was looking at getting a job, there didn’t seem to be many opportunities that offered much creative freedom. I tried out many different freelance positions for a while but didn't quite find the joy that I thought I would with such work.
I’m really not a commercial designer that can churn out 20 patterns a day. I like to spend weeks drawing and painting. The only real option was to start my own business, and this is where Josef McFadden came from: the desire to create art. That’s also who the brand is for: people who appreciate the craft and are looking for something, that you really can’t find anywhere else.
Your brand focuses heavily on print for menswear. Why do you think other designers shy away from it?
I think a lot of people can see menswear as quite boring. Don't get me wrong, there are some designers doing amazing things out there, but the women’s market has so much more freedom. To be honest, I think that’s why print is so important. You can wear something exciting and different, without having to feel like you’re pushing the boat out. It’s a palatable form of sartorial rebellion.
What would you say to the man who plays his wardrobe safe?
Being bold in how you dress shows confidence and self assurance. Men can be really guilty of becoming quite lethargic in how they dress and sometimes injecting some fun can really shake up your outlook, and how other perceive you.
What's been the biggest challenge for you to date as a designer?
The logistics of setting up a fashion business. Hands down. I’m an art person so when it comes to tax, HMRC, selling channels, buying seasons, courier contracts: it’s been an experience.
We've been treated over social media to some beautiful botanical illustrations. What's your plans for 2016?
Not that I’m done with black, but my next collection is a lot brighter. I'm sticking with florals for now as well, but we are branching out in what we sell. We are looking at shirts and suits in our clothing, small leather goods in accessories, and maybe even into some interiors. I’m definitely excited to see where we are going to be next year.
Do you think womenswear steals the limelight from menswear? What challenges do you feel you face as a menswear designer?
There is definitely more focus placed on womenswear. I think it’s more to do with the social constructs around what is “allowed”in a man’s wardrobe. It can really limit designers. I don’t think I face the same changes because no matter what we do in the future the print is always going to be the most important part of our designs. We are lucky enough not to have the same limitations on our designs. Men know it’s okay to wear florals. Thank God for Liberty paving the way.
As a small designer the biggest challenge is competing with the high street. If I had the ear of everyone in the country for a moment I would try and make them see how important it is that they buy from companies like ours. Shopping with small companies is an investment into talent, it’s better for the economy, and it supports livelihoods. Guaranteed if everyone swapped one purchase a year for a small local company, it would change the face of fashion.
Josef McFadden - SS16 and Beyond
If there's ever been a sentiment we've agreed with more - it's to support and buy from emerging design talent. To find out more about Josef's collection, head on over to his website here.
Love our designer spotlight with Josef McFadden? Why not check out our previous spotlights here? What would you like to see feature more in menswear? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!