Sunday, 31 August 2008

A conversation wirh Aitor Throup

Whenever I mention Throup, Susie never fails to mention that he's good looking.

As mentioned in my previous post I was fortunate enough to listen (and scribble notes) to a conversation with Sarah Mower and Aitor Throup at the V&A. It was an intimate setting, in room 40 of one of my favourite buildings in London (where one can wander for hours...or just go to the ornate foodhalls and have a scone or two...), just Aitor, Sarah, a laptop and 30 odd people (including the inspirational Charlie Porter) listening intently.

The sentence which sticks out from the aforementioned conversation is "Artists create problems, designers solve them", Aitor couldn't recall who had said this originally (Google didn't help me fnd the true source either but who cares really?), he has however adopted it for himself. After hearing him talk about his work you really can see how he is both an artist and designer, solving the problems his mind creates with focus and attention to detail and thirst for processes - his comic book scrawlings transform into reality for the runway (or however he so happens to choose to display them). Throup gave great insight into his design process and what he said only made me marvel at him more. Menswear for me isn't as trend led as womenswear, it needs designers like Throup who approach the design process in a different way, pushing textiles and techniques in new directions...challenging the typical and accepted way of how a jacket should be made.

Throup's comic book drawings evolve in to fashion pieces through moulding and sculptural processes.

Mower seemed desperate to discuss Throup's background whereas the man himself gave the impression (albeit extremely politely and eloquently) that he had said it all before but nevertheless went on to describe his youth and how it might have shaped his view on the world and most importantly for us, his design aesthetic. Throup was born in Argentina and lived there up to the age of seven, he then moved to Madrid with his family and stayed there for five years before moving to Burnley. Argentina and Madrid to Burnley. I've never been to Burnley myself but know that it's a northern town and it's not the best place to be when you're different. There can be little doubt that the racist tension of Burnley informed his work on some level but it was the passionate, devoted folowing of the Burnley Football Club which had the greater effect.

Burnely FC - a crowd which inspired a youthful Throup and still does today

As mentioned previously, Throup's MA collection at the RSA was titled "When Football Hooligans Become Hindu Gods”. It is a three-dimensional comic that communicates the story of redemption and transcendence told through fabric structures that are based on a platform of the football casual.

Phil Thornton's book on the 'Casuals' - the cover image showing one of Osti's finest designs.

Due to football hooliganism within this country during the 80's, the clothes which were adopted by 'the casuals' have had lasting associations with brands such as Stone Island and CP Company. Within this island (far greater than the rest of Europe) these brands were the labels of choice of the hooligan and have become something of a taboo. These brands have not had the respect and attention that they deserve. Throup has made me think twice about them and instilled a desire to read up on the subject. Throup left the audience with a piece of news, he has just signed up with Umbro (one of the biggest footballing brands in the UK) in a creative consultant role, I look forward to seeing his influence on a brand which was an important part of my youth. I hope he continues to both create and solve many more problems...

Aitor Throup related news:

  • I've just been informed by EJ that the Throup design for Topman's Black Trouser project have now sold old out...I was too slow. These trousers were the first Throup designed product to be released and I missed out on them. Has anyone managed to get a pair?
  • The Independent ran an interesting piece on Throup, the piece can be read here.


Jaiden_James said...

He is an amazing designer and seeing the effort he put into the black trousers has made me respect him even more he is probably the best menswear designer of recent years and hearing the umbro news is amazing

Stylesalvage Steve said...

Jaiden_James - Have you posted a shot of you in the trousers yet? I'm keen to see how they look on. Aitor approaches all of his tasks in such a refreshing way. For me he is certainly one of the most interesting menswear designers in recent years. I accept that his aesthetic might not be everyones tastes but regardless of this subjective element, everyone should be able to appreciate his work ethic.

Dapper Kid said...

I will definately have to check that book out. Love his designs, they have a few of piece for the fashion exhibition at the V&A in London.

Stylesalvage Steve said...

Dapper Kid - I aim to pick up the book over the weekend. I've got out of the habit of reading a real life book and rthis needs to be rectified. His pieces are the most interesting on show at the Sport vs Fashion exhibition, well worth a look just for them really.

TheSundayBest said...

Interestingly, GQ lists Stone Island as one of the most collectible lines. But that might be in America.

Stone Island Jackets said...

wow.. simply superb!!

Anonymous said...

He's got an interview on the Umbro blog about his work designing the new England kit which ties together some of his background passions (Burnley) with his fashion interests:


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