Christopher Shannon’s sportswear feels particularly British—forward-looking but with one eye firmly on the track pants and shell suits of the nation's High Streets. So this season’s pompoms and bright woven fabrics were a real surprise. While sports elements are a mainstay, with super light performance materials (the multi tech track pants are fleece inside and out for unreal comfort), Peruvian handicrafts take it to another level, as on the “OMG” bomber, where textiles meet texting.
Team Shannon made a short film behind the scenes at the Fall/Winter show in London—check it out below. We're obsessed with the soundtrack and the models' fluo glitter eyebrows, so we took the opportunity to ask Christopher a few questions.
Shop all Christopher Shannonhere.
Alice Newell-Hanson: Hi Christopher! Let's talk about the fall collection—where did the tassels and pompoms come from?
Christopher Shannon: I really wanted to do some embellishment, we had been working in a very graphic way for a few seasons and I wanted more movement. I'd been looking at lots of travel journalism and documentary photography. I wanted to contrast this very boysy northern look by infusing it with unexpected elements.
ANH: A lot of the fabrics you used are usually only seen on sportswear. How do you think sportswear fits into menswear as a whole?
CS: For me it appeals as people actually wear it, it's very based in reality and the now rather than a personal fantasy or something more costumey. It's also really practical; sportswear for the most part looks to the future and for me that's what fashion should do.
ANH: Do you remember the first piece of sportswear you owned?
CS: My brother had this neon yellow nylon zip-neck that he bought for skiing—I would nab that given the chance. Also a Cambrini ski jacket I had, I LOVED that coat. Suede and neons in one garment and a crinkle-shine lightweight nylon. Pure joy.
ANH: I loved the backstage video. What's the most important thing you try to get across in your presentations, and what's the soundtrack usually like?
CS: As the seasons go by we put more and more into the shows, to make them more personal and more of an experience. I think we've excelled at soundtrack every season—I love working on that. I always want something really dark then uplifting. Rihanna and Kim Ann Foxman went down really well, with a bit of The Cure thrown in for good measure.
ANH: Do you think there's a particular culture that goes hand-in-hand with the brand?
CS: Hmm not really. I don't think anyone can really second guess their customer, and if you do it can get really boring and stale. I like the challenge of the visuals rather than that of bulk sales. I like that the brand has a bit of a crossover though; it seems to reach people who aren't really fashion obsessives and just like the product.
ANH: One of your pieces is called the "Cannon Street Tee"... do you live in London?
CS: Yes, I'm from Liverpool but my studio is in London.
ANH: Please describe your studio!
CS: We are in an old nail factory built in the 20s. We have a massive room with a glass ceiling. Really warm in summer, too cold in winter. Nice outside space though.
ANH: Where do you hang out when you go back to Liverpool?
CS: Dim Sum on the Dock Road Sunday morning is an old family habit and not to be missed.
ANH: What was your biggest change in direction for Spring/Summer 2012?
CS: I think the silhouette we really worked into and the fit. Also working with new factories, who can finish pieces in a sharper way than before.
ANH: Where do you see Christopher Shannon in the future?
CS: Just growing and doing things better and better, showing in different ways. I'm also really keen to do a few publishing projects.
ANH: Which other brands do you admire most at the moment?
CS: In London I admire so many, as it's really tough here to make it work. I style and consult on the Michael van der Ham collection, which is really personal and I like. I also love Martine Rose, Mary Katrantzou, Louise Gray, Richard Nicoll, and Lou Dalton. People with personal work and a point of view.
ANH: Whose tweets do you always read?
CS: @jenniferesque, @polywhat, @_lulukennedy @charlie_porter