The Wylde Interview: Joseph Turvey
SHROPSHIRE LAD JOSEPH TURVEY IS SHAKING UP LONDON’S MENSWEAR SCENE WITH HIS TRADEMARK TOUGH-YET-TENDER DESIGNS. WYLDE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM JUST BEFORE HIS SPRING/SUMMER ‘15 SHOW TO TALK DREAMS, DOCUMENTARIES AND... DAVID ATTENBOROUGH!
How many fresh-out-of-college fashion designers are asked by a huge high-street clothing brand to design for them... not anonymously behind the scenes, but as a ‘name’? Not that many...in fact it’s hard to think of more than one. But Joseph Turvey’s stellar career has already encompassed creating a menswear capsule collection for River Island’s Spring/Summer ‘14 line, and he only gradu-ated from the London College of Fashion in 2012.
Hailing from the rural idyll of Shropshire (the UK’s least-populated county) Turvey’s gradual progression ‘down south’ saw him gain his BA in womenswear at Birmingham, after which he applied to do womenswear again, for his MA, at the LCF. However as Turvey tells us: “it wasn’t until I was being interviewed for a place on the Masters course at London College of Fashion that course director Darren Cabon suggested my womenswear was very masculine and would be more suited to menswear... and that’s where it all started. I would like to go back to womenswear one day, though.”
Turvey graduated to great acclaim in February 2012 and was selected to exhibit his final collection at Victoria House in Bloomsbury and from then on the buzz started, with press and buyers sensing an exciting new talent.
The prestigious fashion platform Vauxhall Fashion Scout immediately asked Joseph to show under their Ones To Watch banner at London Fashion Week (there was no dedicated men’s fashion week back then) and subsequently the British Fashion Council took the young designer under their wing... leading to them putting him forward to River Island.
So what’s all this buzz been about? Basically, Turvey seems to represent what is making London such an exciting crucible of menswear design right now. Several young designers are rejecting (for now) the traditional avenue of suits and generally ‘smart’ clothing in favour of exploring sportswear / streetwear, experimenting with new shapes and silhouettes, luxe elements and a new use of colour and print that would hitherto have been more associated with the world of womenswear.
Joseph Turvey plays not only with cut and fabric but is also an accomplished illustrator, whose drawings and pattern designs are regularly a major part of each collection, from new takes on florals, through innovative camouflage, to huge figurative drawings that adorn the front and back of shirts and jackets. His collection for Spring/Summer 2015 (which we exclusively preview opposite) features beautiful Koi carp designs on tops and shorts. Does this obvious interest in the natural world stem from his background in the countryside? “I haven’t actually thought of that before,” muses Turvey. “Maybe subconsciously, but I think my mum was the floral influence. She is a keen gardener and would always have me helping out when I was growing up.”
Now that he’s in the capital city, does he see himself as very much a ‘London’ designer?
“I always think London designers get caught up in this London bubble and forget there’s a massive world market out there. I design and show in the capital but I’d be happy to show somewhere else too. I have presented during Shanghai Fashion Week, which was an amazing experience and opened my work to a massive new market.”
So what sort of things inspire him creatively?
“I usually look at one person and their life story.
I have previously taken inspiration from Edie Beale, Ethel Flock Mobley and David Attenborough. I’m pretty nosey and love watching documentaries about people’s lives.”
TURVEY SEEMS TO REPRESENT WHAT IS NOW MAKING LONDON SUCH AN EXCITING CRUCIBLE OF MENSWEAR DESIGN
The collaboration with River Island was a huge success, so we wonder if there could be more to come from that relationship? “It was a really amazing expe-rience,” says Joseph, “and I’d love to work with them again. It would be fun to do a womenswear collection with them.”
And who would be his dream collaborator? “I would love to create some prints for Hermès scarves: that would be really fun!”
Although it seems strange to be asking this of someone who has only been out of education for a couple of years, Turvey is pretty much an ‘established’ designer, so what advice would he give to a fresh young student just leaving college now? “Take your time and don’t rush into anything,” is his answer. “Everyone has their own agenda which isn’t always best for you.”
What does he do with his time off? “It’s very rare I get a day off but I love going to exhibitions and getting time to draw.” Listening to music? “I like all sorts... I’m a big Beyoncé fan though!”
And finally, the question we ask everyone: does he have any strange / recurring dreams? Joseph ponders: “I haven’t really had a good dream in a long time... When I’m getting ready for a collection as soon as my head hits the pillow I pretty much black out!”