The Graduate

I find menswear quite intriguing and fascinating but I shy away from discussing it via the wonders of blogging or indeed with any other fashion obsessed beings. The reason for this aversion to verbalising my views is that I feel ill equipped to have any significant opinion regarding wearability and style. I wouldn’t say I am out of touch but I find it difficult to see beyond a button down shirt and a nice pair of jeans! I have been perusing the images from the shows and as usual I am drawn to classic pieces such as Gaultier’s striped sweaters and basically anything Hermès. Call me boring yes I deserve that but I am trying to widen my view and taste.  I am therefore stepping into the unknown with this piece concerning a new but very talented menswear designer whose pieces are easy to appreciate if you are a fan of classic utilitarian style.

It seems apt that with the current furore of Men’s Fashion Week in Paris to take the opportunity to introduce this emerging talent to those of you that don’t already know. Step forward Campbell Dunn recent triumphant of the Scottish Fashion Awards Graduate of the Year.  Campbell had to step outside his comfort zone to face the challenge of designing an evening dress for Marks and Spencer as part of the Graduate of the Year qualifying criteria. The dress from the description below sounds amazing and I am looking forward to the unveiling of the finished garment when it graces the rails of the M&S Limited Collection. It has been a hectic time for Campbell but even so he has managed to squeeze a few answers to share with you lovely people enjoy…

Your journey so far?
I was born in Edinburgh and then relocated to North Yorkshire when I was 10 years old, I always knew I wanted to work within the creative industry.  I decided on fashion when I was about 18 as the design process really fascinated me.  During my fashion design degree at Huddersfield University I took a placement year out in between my second and final year. During that year I worked at Burberry, Unconditional and D.S.Dundee as a menswear design assistant, not only did working for these companies improve my skills but also helped build contacts within the industry. This all helped coming back to my final year where I could input all my new skills and knowledge into my final collection.

The final show?
My final graduate show was the day after the Scottish Fashion Awards so I had to get an early train down it didn’t help the fact that it was a free bar at the awards night and I was still feeling the ill effects!  I had three hours sleep the night before so I was running on adrenaline during my final graduate show; I didn’t get to see it as I was helping backstage yet from what I hear it went really well!

New beginnings?
I have a placement at Marks and Spencers working with the womenswear design team which was part of the Scottish Fashion Award I won, so I’m looking forward to that.
I have also been shortlisted to the final of the Neil Barrett competition which is run by the British Fashion Design Council, if I win this I get 6 months working in Milan with his menswear team.  I’ve also been applying to other design related jobs but I’m considering taking a masters degree next year, to further my skills. I am thinking of starting my own company in the future too, but first I want to gain more experience within the industry.

Menswear v’s womenswear?
I prefer menswear as it is more considered than womenswear, you can see the evolution of mens fashion more than that of womans where sometimes I feel it can get a bit lost with the amount of choice it has to offer.  Menswear is also more exciting at the moment, it’s more fashionable and the garments on offer are made to good quality and care. However I do admire womenswear for its creativity and constantly pushing boundaries, it’s an area I would like to venture into, possibly in the future but at the moment I feel I’m more suited to designing for men due to my style and way of working.

Inspirations?
Most of my inspirations come from my childhood images, as a young boy I was fascinated by medieval and historic armour along with the human anatomy. My mum used to take me to Edinburgh Royal Museum where I used to gaze at the varied pieces of armour and think how these were made. I was intrigued by all the detailing and articulated components that joined all the metal pieces together.

Usually when I start designing I concentrate on the human anatomy form first, in various poses, then I build/design garments around them as if I was dressing a warrior in armour.  I suppose my designs and garments are quite masculine, and heritage inspired. My final collection was based on the Antarctica explores of the last 100 years.
Other inspirations include Francis Bacon and David Hockney for their use of colour and Ridley Scott films for the set designs and costumes.

That dress?
As I was so used to designing menswear for the last 2 years I did feel out of my comfort zone when I read the brief to design a womans evening dress. I started with what I felt would work for me, looking at the shape of medieval armour, more so based around the lines and detailing around the shoulders. Fabric was important and I settled on two shades of black of corded lace and chiffon georgette and dirty white suede leather which would be used on the shoulders. I applied press studs to the suede and concentrated on good quality finishing to the hems and zip detailing. I made the top bodice fitted while the chiffon skirt had two layers slightly pleated in to the waistline line so it could flow out. I wanted the dress to be simple and elegant with a slight edge to it, so it could sit within the other limited collection pieces and appeal to the M&S customer.  It was a great feeling to win the award, and an even greater feeling to know that my dress was chosen to feature in the limited collection range!

Pieces from Campbell Dunn’s Graduate Collection



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