Greg Lauren, actor, painter, and now fashion designer, recently showcased his latest collections at TNT Toronto Hazelton Lane. We spoke with Lauren (nephew of Ralph) about his inspirations, his multiple careers, and how he likes people to feel when they put on his clothes.
Q: What inspired you to become a designer?
It really began as an artistic exploration of a theme. As a painter, I wanted to take a look at my unique relationship to clothing, to understand the effect fashion has on identity, and image development. To take a look at why we wear what we wear, and what it says about ourselves culturally. I originally learned to sew, in order to make a series of paper sculptures of clothing, for my exhibition, “Alteration.” As a result, I started making one of a kind wearable pieces for myself…and in doing that I started to find and develop my own voice…fabric and clothing, really became another medium for me to work in as an artist, and that’s how I’ve approached the process.
Q: What was the inspiration for your collection?
My collections so far, have been born out of themes and questions, similiar to bodies of work as a painter. For Fall ’12, I wanted to continue my exploration of our universal love of military clothing, by not only continuing to use re-purposed military fabrics for not only tailored and un-constructed silhouettes, but also to reference some historical military details, especially napoleonic France–even if its just a nod to a crossover closure, or button detail, or the length of the coats…but using modern, distressed fabrics.
Q: What kind of woman/man do you design for?.
My goal is to let the clothes bring out the individuality in the wearer. I hope that the man or woman has a strong sense of self, usually a kind of artistic, rugged individualism. I like finding that balance between elegance and artistic imperfection.
Q: When you’re not wearing your own styles, whose do you turn to?
Now, that I make clothes, I love wearing as much of it as I can, in the way that someone may eat food from their own garden. But I still turn to a classic Hanes v-neck t-shirts, my Frye boots, and a great pair of Levi’s or Double Ralph Lauren jeans.
Q: You’ve had a number of achievements in your career – artist, fashion designer. Which achievement are you most proud of and why?
I’m most proud of the evolution. I have opportunities to repeat myself, but I love challenging myself to push the envelope artistically and redefine what it can mean to be an artist today. I believe that if I can be creative in any medium and affect people, then I’m doing my job.
Q: How much time does it take to create a collection?
It usually is the culmination of months of thinking, experimenting, trying new things, making mistakes– some of which end up being the strongest pieces!
Q: What do you do to set your design apart from those of other designers?
I can’t speak for other designers. I just know that I challenge myself to make clothing that hopefully makes someone think differently about what they’re wearing–feel something. I think clothing can say something and look great simultaneously.
Q: How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothing?
Confident. Like they can take a chance, like they can break away from the rut that they’re in. Like a superhero.
Q: What is the future of fashion? What big changes do your foresee for the next 10 years?
I think the ironic thing about fashion is that the future will always embrace the past. I think at some point, the things that mean something today won’t mean anything. Luxury will be redefined by artistry. People may even have to learn how to sew their own clothes again.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a fashion designer?
Depending on their ultimate goal, I’d say figure out whether you really have something to say, develop that voice, and then put it out there. Take chances, but create from a truthful place.