The magnetic attraction to London, England, as the new center of the fashion universe, is one so strong that it is pulling Canadian fashion talent across the pond at an alarmingly fast rate. The city already plays host to our homegrown super talents - Erdem, Mark Fast and Jean Pierre Braganza - but there is a new wave of up-and-comers to keep your eye on. Of this new generation, we’re putting the spotlight first on new label, Thomas Wakeford; a progressive womenswear line by design-duo London-based,Thomas Wakeford, 28, and Toronto-native, Raphael Castelmezzano, 23.
After meeting in 2009, the pair soon formed a friendship that would lead to their creative and business partnership upon Wakeford’s completion of his MA in womenswear at Central Saint Martins last spring. Castelmezzano, who moved to London at the tender age of 19 to explore his fashion career, has assisted fashion editors at AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused and Harper’s Bazaar. Later becoming the Editorial Coordinator and Production Manager of Man About Town. It seemed like a match made in fashion heaven.
Together they use Wakeford’s understanding of cut and fabrication, and Castelmezzano’s stylistic point of view to produce their cutting-edge brand. For Fall 2011, they present a collection of minimalist silhouettes in obscure fabrications that challenge conventional garment construction and texture combinations. Keeping it in the Canadian family, they reached out to London-based, Canadian photographer, Justin Borbely, to shoot their latest campaign and lookbook.
We chatted with this talented duo about style, YouTube, vacations and inspirations.
What is your design esthetic?
TW: Bold, graphic, urban, luxury.
RC: A clean search for perfection, futuristic, fun, luxury.
Who is the girl you have in mind when you design clothing?
TC: Young, fun, cultured, ambitious, slightly masculine and slightly tough.
RC: She changes each season but she’s always urban, cool, and hard.
The designer duo tells us why they love London, their inspiration, and much more on the next page...
Above photo of Thomas Wakeford and Raphael Castelmezzano
What’s so great about working in fashion and living in London?
TW: The support and competition is really healthy in London, there's a lot of opportunities and a lot of other designers trying to achieve similar goals. If you don't work hard and push yourself, there's plenty who will.
RC: The pace of life means you’re always doing something and forward-thinking fashion really begins in London, so it’s exciting to be in that world.
Who has got great style?
TW: My Dad. His style is smart, casual and classic. Never intentionally fashiony, but considered and timeless.
RC: Ashley Olsen.
What are your wardrobe staples?
TW: Jeans, black Nike Air Max or black Reebok Classics and a backpack.
RC: Track pants, thick long sleeve shirts, hoodies, and black boots.
Where do you get inspiration from?
RC: YouTube, culture, photography, life in general, mixing references to create something new.
Dream supermodel to star in a Thomas Wakeford campaign?
TW: 90s Kate moss, before it all got too glossy.
RC: I would probably mess around with Daria and bring her back in a weird way.
Favourite Fall ’11 collection aside from your own?
TW: Prada - it was fun, new, odd and unexpected.
RC: The Row – simple, cool, luxurious pieces.
What’s your favourite thing on YouYube?
TW: Old live soul music.
RC: Salad Fingers, Shaye Saint John and Ryan Trecartin are amazing.
What gets you excited?
TW: Good design and good music.
RC: Discussing an idea or thought with Thomas.
What are your words to live by?
TW: Work hard, be happy the rest will follow.
RC: Positive thinking, hard work and a good heart will get you to where you need to be.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this year?
TW: Don't worry about it, get it done.
RC: Things can happen.
What’s your London secret spot?
TW: Sounds of the Universe record shop in Soho is a must for anyone who loves good music.
How do you like to spend a Sunday afternoon?
TW: Having a roast in the pub with friends and newspapers, or just relaxing watching films and reading.
RC: Sitting outside the pub drinking beer with friends.
What is your favourite gallery in London?
TW: The Tate Modern's size and shows are great, I also like the National Portrait Gallery.
RC: Gagosian Gallery.
What’s the one thing you would love to do this summer?
TW: Win the lottery.
RC: Go on holiday for a week.
How do you like to spend a hot and sunny day?
TW: Swimming in lake Geneva, walking around East London or a BBQ with friends until the early hours.
RC: Laying by the pool.
Where is paradise to you?
TW: Sailing around the Ionian Islands in Greece came pretty close.
Designer DNA: Erdem
Designer DNA: Mark Fast
Designer profile: The Blonds