A scholarship graduate of the Central St Martins MA Menswear course, Christopher Shannon’s debut collection featured collaborative pieces with sponsors including Eastpak, Calvin Klein and Levi’s – Eastpak turning into a hugely successful partnership that spanned seven collections. After graduating, Shannon’s work was featured in a Topman-sponsored catwalk show, progressing to the innovative NEWGEN scheme three seasons later. The designer’s unique take on technical sportswear fabrics helped him win the Dunhill Menswear Award in 2008, and he was the recipient of the inaugural BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund in June 2014. He has also been shortlisted for the Emerging Menswear Award at the British Fashion Awards and the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize.
W*: Talk us through your working day. How does it start? Where do you work?
There is no typical day. For instance, last year I spent most of the summer in Provence, but then when I came back to the studio I was in Edmonton all the time, and every time I drove through Edmonton I kept seeing these people with really odd outfits on. So it was a combination of being in the south of France and having quite a chic time going to galleries and then coming back to north London. I try to combine the things that I see and that I think are desirable.
W*: How much does technology impact on your creative process? How much time do you spend using pen and paper… and how much time using a computer? Do you use 3D imaging/rendering programs? 3D printing?
I was always into clothes and what other people were wearing. But I was more into music, art and drawing. I never got into fashion, but I suppose I was always interested in what things looked like. I think this job is one you can only learn as you go, and people do it in such different ways.
W*: How did you find your HP Sprout experience? Was it easy to use?
Because of the particular way I work, it was good for me to play around with. A collection tends to just evolve once we have a few things we are really into – a few images, an idea of shape, weights of fabrics etc. I’ve wanted to be really committed to the research the last few seasons. Things have felt more mood-orientated than in the earlier collections.
W*: In your line of work, how do you think Sprout would be best employed?
Working on new ideas. It's mostly an ongoing process rather than a theme or a story. I am always keen to bring new finishes and processes to the way we do things and up the quality as much as possible.
W*: What are you working on right now?
I’m always onto the next piece of work. I don’t get that attached to things as they pass. And my name sort of belongs to the label more that it does to me; I’m not sure I register it as my name any more. It’s nice to see someone with nice style wearing a piece in a nice way. That goes the other way too, though; you can’t look too much. The work never stops. At least for me it doesn’t. I’m always doing something that is a continuation of what I’ve done before or a reaction against it. And all those things carry big ideas and tiny ideas. You don’t know it till you see it. It’s quite an odd process really.