Interview With Designer Christian Cowan-Sanluis
If Ugly Betty is anything to go by, the life of young aspiring fashion designers mainly consists of making coffee and getting shouted at by Meryl Streep. Or is that The Devil Wears Prada? Either way, it looks like a lot of hard work, and to get an insight into the lifestyle I’ve been talking to Christian Cowan-Sanluis, a first year student at London College of Fashion.
However, Cowan-Sanluis is no regular student, and his progress has been a touch faster than most. Despite only just having started his studies, he has already launched two collections at London Fashion Week and his designs have been worn by celebs like Lady Gaga and Eliza Doolittle. Impressive indeed – here’s what he had to say.
You recently made the news when Lady Gaga wore an outfit from your autumn/winter collection – how did that feel?
I was so pleased. I’m a big fan of hers so it was great to see her wearing my work!
Is she a figure that you take inspiration from?
Yes, definitely, she is not afraid to put herself out there and that’s something I really admire. Safe to say I’m a fan.
What are your influences?
I love fun, humorous fashion that’s full of attitude. I’m really heavily influenced by music – I grew up watching music videos all the time and I always gravitated towards the bright, poppy ones! I also think my mother is a big influence. She definitely has a distinct style, often wearing blouses with pencil skirts, always all in black. I think I channel an extreme version of her style when I design.
I grew up obsessed with David Attenborough, I wanted to be an entomologist…
Why did you choose fashion?
I grew up obsessed with David Attenborough, I wanted to be an entomologist (a zoologist who focuses on insects), but one day I just thought fashion was my thing. Perhaps it’s similar to all the insects I liked with their crazy shapes and colours.
I don’t know why I chose fashion over painting or sculpture etc. – I tried them all and I think I just preferred being able to create pieces that women can actually wear. Possibly because I watched so many music videos and TV programmes, and played video games; I have always loved outfits worn by the people.
How would you classify your style? What makes you different?
I think in my work it would be fun, young and sassy. For me though, I always change – one day I’m in a head-band and vest and the next I’m all baggy black street vibes.
Do you prefer designing for men or women?
I prefer women because you just have more freedom for what is wearable. I can get away with more with women then men, although I would love to do menswear as well one day.
Who would you most like to work with?
I’d love to do more collaborations for jewellery, shoes and furniture, and I’d love to work on some pieces that are not related to fashion to see how it works. As for people I’d like to dress, I would enjoy dressing Nicki Minaj and I’ve always wanted to do a pair of glasses for Elton John, I just need to find out how!
High street or catwalk?
I’ve got to say catwalk, always. I’d love to do a collaboration for a high street store at some point but, in general, to create the designs I want it requires a larger budget. You can also go a bit more “out there” in high-end design.
Tell me about your vision – what’s your goal?
Well, I’d love to dress more artists and move into more sales. I’m planning my Spring/Summer 2015 right now (which will be released in September) and I’m really looking forward to that!
To see more, visit, christiancowansanluis.com