Remember that name.
Crutchley, a textile specialist (seriously—this man possesses a passion and knowledge of textiles like no other) will show his menswear line at Red Bull's Fashion East's Menswear Presentations, a non-profit initiative that nurtures emerging young designers, on Monday. When he does, you may just never look at textiles the same way again.
But don't be mistaken—Crutchley has experience beyond his own men's line, being a consultant for Louis Vuitton, Richard Nicoll, and Chinese menswear brand Jevoni and having studied (initially womenswear) at the heralded Central Saint Martins.
We caught up with Crutchley to talk about why he decided to switch to menswear, why textiles are so important to him, and his role at Louis Vuitton and what it was like working with designer Kim Jones. Crutchley also let us in on what we can expect at his presentation days before the show kicks off. Get familiar with Crutchley before his name is on everyone's lips.
Interview by Matthew Henson
How long have you been designing and where did you do to school?
I remember the first outfit I designed was a red bustier and asymmetric skirt with a matching red beret. I was nine and it was for a Barbie competition. My Mum made me do it so I blame her that I made Barbie into a slut. Then through high school I drew page after page of hideous platform shoes. Somehow that got me into CSM!
Why did you choose menswear out of all of the areas of design?
I studied womenswear and that was my sole interest until I started working at LV. Then I realized how many possibilities you can achieve through subtle nuances in menswear. That's what holds my interest.
Textiles are an important part of your designs, can you tell us why?
If you don't love textiles then you don't love fashion. It's as simple as that. Textiles are the first thing you see and the main sensory experience of clothing. You wouldn't buy a jacket that fit you like a dream, but was the ugliest ass colour imaginable and made you sweat like a pig.
I can't tell you why textiles have grabbed my attention quite so much, though. I really am obsessed—especially with traditional textile from different cultures. I've been lucky enough to study and work with some amazing rations around the world and there is something in my mind that just gets textiles and textile processes. It just clicks.
How do you go about choosing and sourcing textiles, and then pairing them into looks? Is it one thought process or many moving ideas that end up coming together?
For me, it starts with research. I've got over 200 books on textiles from all around the world, as well as my physical archive, which takes up half my flat.
I found these amazing blankets from Sumba in Indonesia. The moment I saw them I was hooked. That's what I was doing. After we had reworked the graphics and I had an idea of the repeats and overall visual sense, that informed the techniques I wanted to use, and that in turn influenced the garment shapes.
This season, I was approached by a supplier I work with often in Japan, and they had a brand new double faced jersey technique they had invented (it has different design in different colours on each side, which I've never seen before) and they offered it to me as a world exclusive. Well that shit is like crack to me, so I bit their hand off. What I wanted was to explore a very traditional graphic sensibility in new and appropriate textiles that were still luxurious to wear. If you don't want to wear it what's the point?
What is your role as a consultant for Louis Vuitton? And is that how you came to form your own line?
Alongside my own collection, I have a textile design and development consultancy business and I'm really blessed to have LV (alongside Richard Nicoll and Chinese menswear brand Jevoni) as clients. A lot of what I do is sourcing and design development within collection textiles. Researching techniques, be they new or traditional, reapplying them to fit the theme of the season and managing that process. I work on 16 collections a year all in all. I think that might be more than Karl...
Tell us a bit about your relationship and collaborations with Kim Jones?
Working for Kim is amazing. He is extremely generous with both his time and allowing his team creative freedom to contribute ideas. His frames of reference are always exciting and I've learned so much from him. Over the last few years, he has really pushed the LV men's textiles and that has been so exciting to be a part of.
What should we look forward to from you at this week's Red Bull's Fashion East Presentations?
Textiles. Surprisingly! [Laughs] It's all about the surface, texture upon texture upon coloor upon coloor. Not in some Dalston jumble sale kind of way. I hope there is a cleanness and directness to this collection. Oh and look out for the handmade monster face baseball caps. Limited edition. Get your order in now.