The Contour of Luxury Spring/Summer 2018 - Page 58

Q & A Alexis Day Your fashion career started in the late 1970’s, at which time you developed an interest in made-to-measure. That interest over the years became what is now the Mark Powell brand, which was established in 1985, offering made-to-measure, bespoke tailoring, and today includes ready-to-wear. What was it about made-to-measure that initially appealed to you? Mark Powell How it all started for me really, is that I’ve been going to bespoke tailors from a very young age, and designed suits. I mean, I’ve been doing this since I was about 12 or 13. I was into the subcultures since I was a young guy and I was always into fashion and style. When I couldn’t find particular things that I wanted I would just get them made. And that’s really how the whole interest started. So, I was designing suits really by the time I was 14, 15 years old, and a lot of my style influences, which really are what you can see in my work today are very nostalgically inspired, but obviously I’ve always known how to make them more a bit contemporary. But really, it was a passion, and not something that I just decided, “oh I like this, I’m just going to try and do it.” It was actually something that was a personal passion that I had, and when I started to work in quite an upmarket men’s retail around Savile Row, in and around Savile Row, is when I started to learn a lot about tailoring and how to measure made to fit suits and designing suits. But I had already been designing suits literally since I was a teenager. Alexis Day You’re renowned for your classically inspired tailoring, in fact, so much so that your clothes have attained iconic status. However, it’s not so surprising, as you bring a peerless flair to bespoke tailoring. How did you foster your enviable tailoring skill? Mark Powell Well really, I mean as I say, I think probably back in the beginning when I started I was directly influenced by a period style or look. So, if I did a sort of 40’s inspired look from an old Hollywood movie, or something from the 60’s from the or the British sub cultures like the Mods or stuff like that, I would always do something pure to the style of the era, and I’d do my research to get that completely correct and right and how it should be. But obviously over the years what I’ve done more is I’ve refined and taken my own influences from all of the different periods and managed to create my own style through that. So I think it’s really important that some of it looks current as well. You don’t want it just looking like so period, cause then it just looks like costume, and really that’s were I think I’ve got a lot of advantage up on a lot of people, and as you know that again there’s a sort of interest again in vintage style, particularly with tailoring and stuff like that. Really, I was really the modern pioneer of that whole thing. I mean, if you pick up books like the ‘History of Savile Row’ you can see a lot of that in the book when they talk about my thing. I’ve got about 8 pages in the Savile Row book, the ‘History of Savile Row,’ and you know a lot of my style was taken from that, but it is still relative and very much a part of what contemporary style is about today. And a lot of things that I tend to do, normally is that I just don’t follow anybody else, I just do my own thing. And then normally a couple of years later people start picking up on what I’ve been doing and sort of follow me, you know?