Gemma Slack Interview

Gemma Slack’s work has been featured in editorials shot by Steven Meisel, Steven Klein and Nick Knight, while the latter did her portrait in a recent i-D feature about the most promising creatives of the world. Her clothes express a dark futuristic feel while she has a great talent in combining different materials. Her ss11 collection is inspired by JG Ballard’s ‘Crash’ and particularly the phrase ‘We ought to reshape the human body by modern technology’. And that’s how Gemma entered our world.

-How did you get into designing?

I have always loved fashion and naturally would just design things for me to wear when I was younger. But I officially started designing on a whim, when a tutor at Chelsea advised me to study fashion and I ended up enrolling at LCF.

-You have a more artistic background. How have this influenced you towards fashion?

I think it influences the way I look and think about things, especially concerning the materials I use. My initial starting points isn’t based on sales or trends, but concepts and ideas that I like which afterwards progress into a 3d form.

-What was the most important lesson you learned during your internship at Gareth Pugh?

How to work on a very tight budget, and how much work really goes on behind the scenes. Also the massive sacrifices you have to make.

-What are the fabrics you most enjoy working with

I mostly work with leather as I love its versatility, I take a very ‘hands on’ approach when I work and leather is perfect for this. I can sit in my studio for hours dying it, moulding it and manipulating it using traditional techniques.

When I did my first collection my mythical creatures were constructs of my imagination and a story I had written. I am generally obsessed with different creatures and the reasoning behind them. At the moment I have been researching into the Lilitu (from old babylonian tales) she was considered to be a demon that survived by drinking blood of babies. The thing that I particularly
love about these folkloric creatures is how these appear in relation to periods of social change and anxiety over the future. Look at all the resurgence of Vampire tales now in popular culture.

-What was the inspiration behind your ss11 collection?

I was inspired by JG Ballard’s ‘Crash’. I wished to explore concepts surrounding love and sex, death and power, artificiality and simulation of reality.

-Introduce us to the Gemma Slack woman.

I am designing having as my muse a woman who is seductive and desirable yet indifferent and un-giving. A woman who is not really human, but rather the perfect machine.

-What is the biggest challenge for a young designer?

For me the biggest challenges are financial ones, that coupled with self-doubt

-Why did you move to London?

Because I love London, and from a young age I had decided that this was what I wanted to do, so I found a way.

-How would you describe the London style?

Eclectic.

-Where can we find your clothes?

In London my clothes can be bought at MACHINE-A on Berwick Street, online at notjustalabel or at NY AT Debut, on Mulberry street.

Text: Danai Alaska | Photo by: Nikolas Ventourakis | Site: Gemmaslack.com