Utopia: Simon Preen Interview
April 25, 2016
In a look back to our Utopia print issue (issue three), we flashback to our interview with Simon Preen.
Simon Preen is a designer forever on the borderline of light and dark, who continually pushes the boundaries of style. Hear about him in his own words.
Sum up your designs for our readers.
I’ve seen it written on a few occasions in tabloid newspapers (when referring to celebrities wearing Simon Preen) as “a few strategically placed straps” which is kind of true on many occasions; obviously there’s a whole lot more that goes into it than that but, maybe it’s because I don’t take myself so seriously.
Why dark style/culture?
The dark arts are the most powerful, everybody knows that; and if they don’t then they are obviously a different breed of human being to me. There is also some comedy in what I do, albeit black, I think of my style as more b-movie. I’m certainly not the darkest designer on the planet, you can actually make what I do look very light to a certain extent but know that everything I do comes from a dark place originally.
How would you describe your personal style?
Varying levels of grunge, goth & twink.
Your style icons?
Somewhere between Marilyn Manson and Quentin Crisp
Two most important moments that influenced your style?
Being in secondary school when I had shoulder length greasy hair, I looked like a girl, people started to say I looked like Brian Molko and, although outwardly I was like, ‘Shut up, I don’t’, inside I was so pleased with myself; I felt like I had some identity.
The second came from the first piece of (wearable) clothing I ever made, with the help of my Auntie Pauline. A pair of bright red corduroy flares which I wanted to be so extremely flared they were like wizards sleeves. The first day I wore them I went to catch the bus to college and everyone at the bus stop stared and laughed at me but it was the first time I truly enjoyed a negative reaction and made it into a positive in my head. Even though I’m sure I did look ridiculous I was feeling like “yeah, it’s fashion darling…look it up!” – It was a really important moment of growth.
What inspired you to start designing?
Style was always of interest to me, but working in fashion never really crossed my mind. I dropped out of art college because once I got there, and finally met a few people who thought like I did, I was more interested in having fun and getting wasted than focusing on work. I suppose it was necessary at that point to try and recapture some of my misspent youth, but after six months of doing that every night I thought I should probably do something and decided to try fashion, which I have focused on ever since.
What do you have in the pipeline for the future?
Over the last year we have been setting up our new east London studio and we’re launching a capsule collection in a matter of weeks under the working title of “Cosmic Shell’, alongside that we’re launching the new website which involves some general rebranding and then continuing with SS15 with the possibility of some sort of exhibit in fashion week for the first time.