7 May 2017

In Conversation With: Rory Hutton

Hello, and welcome to the third edition of my 'In Conversation With' series! The first edition was with Charlie from Modish Male and the most recent edition featured India from Trashed Vintage. This time however, I catch up with Irish accessories designer Rory Hutton.

Rory is flying the flag for not only British designers but for British manufacturing too! He specialises in bow ties, pocket squares and socks and has previously worked with my queen Vivienne Westwood and Hardy Amies of Savile Row. The label has been featured in various press outlets including Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire and Men's Health. He will be showcasing at London Fashion Week in June, but in the meantime you can check out his online store here. Here's what went down when we had a little chit chat!

Ryan: What was it like working with (my favourite designer) Vivienne Westwood?

Rory: Vivienne Westwood is one of my favorite designer too! As a student I really admired her approach to pattern cutting and how she reinterprets history in a fresh and dynamic way. It was great to get an insiders viewpoint on the workings of her studio and I met some great people that I'm still in touch with. 

Ryan: Her approach is definitely unique! How important is it to use materials sourced in the UK & Ireland and what made you decide to do this?

Rory: All of my products are made in the UK. As a British brand I think it's incredibly important to support the great craft and manufacturing traditions that exist locally. At the moment the fashion industries favourite word is transparency and rightly so. There have been so many horror stories of exploitation in the industry over the last few years and as a result more and more people want to know they are buying products that have been made ethically. My first collection was made entirely of Irish linen and this is still one of my favourite fabrics. Historically all the best couture houses considered Irish linen to be the finest in the world and I agree! Most people today associate it with table cloths for tourists. So I decided to counter this by putting it at the heart of my brand. Over the years I've also used Scottish and English wool and I would really like to work with one of the English silk mills in the future.

Ryan: It's so important to support British businesses while also taking an ethical approach to fashion! So what can we expect from you at Fashion Week next month?

Rory: This will be my first time to show at London Fashion Week Men's and I'm really excited about it! I will be presenting a collection of bow ties, pocket squares and socks. It will be a mix of my most popular prints together with a number of new designs! 

Ryan: I'm gutted I can't pop along to check it out! Tell me about your creative process...

Rory: I have been drawing all my life. I love history and I have an MA in Design History so I usually begin with books and museum visits. All my prints began life as pen drawings and each of them has a story to tell. I like to think I work in a way that Christian Dior would recognise! I'm a romantic so designing on computers has never really appealed to me. My prints are a mix of traditional screen printing and digital printing. I like to mix old and new technology in this way. This year I have spent a lot of time sourcing artisans and manufacturers in the UK which has been a lot of fun. 

Ryan: Talking of fun, if you were stranded on an island for 365 days with only 3 albums, what would they be?

Rory: I'm delighted you asked me this because Desert Island discs is my favorite radio program so I think about this quite often! My taste is pretty eclectic, at the moment I'm listening to The Weeknd, his music is really upbeat and energetic and just what you need when you're busy! However my two favorite pieces of all time are The Flower Duet from the opera Lakme (Joan Sutherland's version is my favorite). I first heard this when I was 16 and its just so beautiful and filled with sunshine. Then there is Clair de Lune by Debussy, so haunting and optimistic...

Ryan: The Weeknd is definitely a favourite of mine too, his latest album was awesome! Who are your style inspirations and why?

Rory: As we mentioned earlier Vivienne Westwood is a hugely inspiring character. I like people who are themselves and wear what they like regardless of what society thinks. Isis Apfel is someone I would very much like to have coffee with, she says 'More is more, less is a bore' and this quote pops into my head quite often when I'm designing! I've never been a minimalist I like colour and print. Diana Vreeland is another fascinating character, have you seen 'The Eye has to Travel'? Her stories and anecdotes are priceless.   

Ryan: I haven't seen it but I'll definitely have to check it out! If there was one trend you could chuck in the bin, what would it be?

Rory: I keep seeing little girls with giant hair bows everywhere, they seem to be a big trend at the moment. I think they look truly dreadful! They make me think of Victorian children in paintings. Unless your wearing a starched cotton dress and having your portrait painted by John Singer Sargent circa 1900 there is really no excuse for this!

Ryan: Hahaha! What made you relocate to Glasgow after starting your business on Brick Lane?

Rory: Scotland is an amazing place to have a business. There is a really supportive community of entrepreneurs here and Glasgow has an amazing architectural and design heritage. I will never tire of the spectacular buildings. One of my favorite architects is Alexander 'Greek' Thomson (1817-1875) and you can spot his work everywhere here. I spend a lot of time in Edinburgh too and that has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. 

Ryan: I've never had the chance to travel to Scotland but I'd love to one day! Finally, what do you plan to do with the brand over the next few years?

Rory: When I started I was making bow ties and have since expanded into pocket squares and most recently socks. I would like to gradually expand the range further over the coming years. I think my prints would work well for swimwear and I love the idea of old fashioned silk robes! I'm also interested in collaborations with like minded brands.

Ryan: I can definitely see your prints working well on swimwear, I'm looking forward to seeing how that pans out in the future! 

If you fancy being featured in the future, email me at ryan.mules@live.co.uk

Thanks for reading! 


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