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LFW Preview: Christopher Raeburn

Saturday, 30 July 2011

New York fashion week is barely over, but the fashion set has flown on to the next: London fashion week begins today. In a new series, drops in on a few of London’s hottest young talents to find out what’s in store. First up, Christopher Raeburn, who presents his men’s and women’s collections tomorrow.
“The sourcing process for us is not a case of going to Premiere Vision in Paris, by any means!” says Christopher Raeburn over a mug of tea in his studio, a stone throw away from the site of the new Olympic Stadium in East London. He’s just finished inflating a giant, six-foot bunny, made—just like the parkas that established him as a designer to watch—from recycled parachute fabric. The bunny, alongside other animals, will feature in his presentation tomorrow at the disused Aldwych tube station—a presentation that will incorporate film as well as sound installations.

So while his fellow designers hit the fabric shows, like Premiere Vision, in search of their materials, Raeburn’s process is a little more complicated. “It’s a case of going to different military warehouses, looking on the Internet, delving into my own research bank,” he explains of finding the deadstock materials, often military-issued, out of which he creates his men’s and women’s lines. For Fall, 40-year-old Danish wool and beautifully mottled military transit blankets are among the salvage. Fabric sitting in moldering warehouses doesn’t excite some, but Raeburn waxes poetic. The blankets, he says, “literally have every color you can imagine within them, and they’re not even in any way designed. It’s really exciting taking something that was never meant to be a garment and giving it a completely new life.”

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