With so many look-books blogged innumerable times as soon as press release and inbox meet, it feels good to offer something truly exclusive. NCAD (otherwise known as Ireland’s premiere art and design college, and the campus opposite my bedroom window!) grad and Irish printed textiles designer Gerard Gunning has been on the to-blog list for a while now since I came across his collection, ‘Aerial’, as part of the graduate exhibition in June, slipping – afterward – into a mildly embarrassing frenzy of iPhone snapping…
His work blends a Christopher Shannon sportiness with an air of experimentation not dissimilar to Henrik Vibskov. Above all, it’s like nothing I’ve seen before and I’d quite like to wear a lot of it so what better reason to catch up with Gunning to talk inspiration, fabric innovation and a man called Paul Smith.
Male Mode: What inspired your graduate collection?
Gerard Gunning: My work focuses on contemporary menswear fashion inspired by obstacles and boundaries that challenge us every day throughout our lives. Looking from above giving a game-like feel, my work began with the idea of aerial views, 3D in reality but which, when photographed from above, appear flat and one dimensional. This idea of viewing from above, the all seeing eye, as one may say, gave way to the idea of censorship, privacy and anonymity. My research drove the aesthetic development of the obstacle course, a simplified version of the world but similar to life (with its ups and downs) when viewed from above can look very differently. Overall my work looks at the idea of the anonymous vs. the identified. The anonymous being the everyday working male and the identified being the work he has created.
MM: What are the materials used in your collection? Can you tell us about the manufacturing process?
GG: I’ve designed contemporary avant-garde men’s fashion fabrics that emulate an edgy, contemporary look, fusing sports and casual wear. My collection is designed to push boundaries and encourage people to push their own personal dressing aesthetic by combining oversized and skinny garments and using fabrics not usually associated with menswear fashion. Materials used in the collection include cotton, silk and synthetics. Along with these basic everyday fabrics, I’ve created new fabrics by bonding different materials to the conventional ones. Being a printed textile designer, I’ve looked at various print processes throughtout the collection such as pigment print, acid print/illumination, spandex, foil print, embossing and digital print.
MM: What are your plans for the future?
I’m about to start a 3-month placement with British designer Paul Smith in London. My ultimate ambition is to create my own label within the menswear market.
Wishing Gerard all the best at Paul Smith and beyond.