The fashion world wept when Simon Spurr left his namesake label in 2012. He popped back up in 2017, when he briefly took over design duties at EIDOS, but quickly decamped once again (after designing some truly gorgeous menswear) in order to take the reigns at one of the OG brands of the early 2000s designer denim boom, 7 for All Mankind. Now, a year into his tenure at 7, Spurr’s first full collection for men and women is finally hitting stores.
This is your first full collection for 7 for all Mankind, correct? What are you doing to move the brand forward?
Yes, it’s the first collection that explores what the brand could be going forward. My vision is to really design a full lifestyle collection that works harmoniously between denim and ready-to-wear. It was important to me that we took a more elevated approach to the aesthetic in order to reinvigorate and modernize the brand. To take the existing customer on a journey, and also offer new, unexpected product that would attract an additional customer within the premium denim world.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your new role?
Many denim brands struggle with ready-to-wear, as it’s such a different animal in approach and strategy from denim. At 7 For All Mankind, my challenge is to help the company build a cohesive, modern collection of denim and RTW that works seamlessly together and as standalone collections. I hoping that my 24 years of experience at designer ready-to-wear brands (including my own), will not only help shape the aesthetic and taste level of the product, but also provide insights as to how we can grow this part of the business.
What’s been your most rewarding experience since taking over at 7?
Working with some incredibly talented people. I was extremely fortunate to inherit such a great design team of like-minded, passionate people that also happen to share a very similar aesthetic to my own. Unlocking and empowering people’s creativity is the most rewarding part of my job. Together, we are creating some great product that could enhance the way people view the company and also define a new code for the next generation.
Do you have a favorite piece from the new collection?
Naturally my favorite pieces are always the more fashion-forward styles. In women’s ready-to-wear it’s our military green/black printed silk dress — I was obsessed with a wider proportion on top, with a very controlled and abbreviated fit on the lower part of the body-masculine yet feminine. In denim, it would have to be our indigo broken twill tall boyfriend jean with the ripped knee. And in men’s, I would say it’s either our navy cotton twill A-pocket field jacket or our white destroyed skinny jean.
Do you remember your first pair of jeans?
My first pair of jeans that I can really remember, were a pair of super skinny, indigo pinstripe jeans from when I was 5/6yrs old. I remember my parents having to stand at the end of the bed and pull them off me they were so tight. The jeans were a real Iggy Pop look, and we have actually launched something similar at 7 For All Mankind for Fall 2020. My first pair of 7’s were from our Spring 2020 development — a washed grey jean with tonal paint dot print; followed by a white coated, indigo jean that was the inspiration for the installation in the new Madison Ave store.
What makes a truly great pair of jeans?
I think this answer would vary greatly depending on who you ask. I’m more of a denim purist and have only worn 100% cotton denim my entire life. That said, as rigid jeans are less forgiving, the fit of the jean plays heavily in my decision making process. Authentic washes and traditional detailing are often important for men, whilst for women I believe it’s still all about how the jeans make you look and feel.
Are there any bygone denim trends you hope never come back in style?
I can think of one trend that I was for sure less enamored with — in the early ’80s, when I was around eight years old, I had a pair of acid wash jeans with transfers all over them (the Flintstones, I think).
You’re such a precise designer. Do you have any design pet peeves that drive you crazy?
Well, first off, thank you for saying that. It’s nice to hear that my precision and consideration are recognized. That said, I don’t really have any pet peeves. I’m often bewildered when people leave labels on the sleeve cuff of suits, or don’t remove the stray stitch at the back vent of a jacket or coat. But maybe my biggest pet peeve is when someone says to me ‘I could never get away with wearing that’. It just seems so self-limiting.
Do you ever miss running your own namesake brand?
I used to, but after a few years hiatus I started another brand, also bearing a family name, called MARCH NYC (New Youth Culture). The March family were bronze sculptors on my mother’s side who were commissioned to make a two-story high war memorial presented to Canada by King George of England after WW2. The March were also commissioned to cast Winston Churchills’ bust in bronze. I wanted a name that was strong, and indicative of the type of product I was making. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on this brand, but within a few years the line has started to garner some nice attention from celebrity to people that followed my old namesake brand.
What would you love to do at 7 that you haven’t been able to yet?
I’d like to get ahead of the curve and reintroduce 100% cotton denim product into the mix. I grew up with it, so I’m familiar with how to wear it, fit it, and source it. Our current customer is still extremely “stretch focused,” but I know (being one of them) that there is also a large group of consumers out there that want rigid denim again. It would be nice to be the first of the major denim brands to lead the charge on this.
If you could collaborate with any other brand or designer, who would it be and what would you hope to create together?
Despite being a huge Hedi-phile and loving how Celine looks now, I’d most like to collaborate with Phebe Philo. Personally I find her aesthetic and blend of masculine/feminine unrivaled in the market. She also seems to be a nice person to work with, which counts for a great deal in my book.
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