James Hillman is an up and coming designer from Jersey (Our Jersey in the Channel Island's, not your New Jersey In the states!) who has moved to London and is slowly making a name for himself. With designs that are clean cut and elegant, "think classic moved on." He recently showed at London's Vauxhall Fashion Scout show to much acclaim. Previously working as the Head Designer of his own label at Fashion Mode fashion house for two years, James talks us through what it is like to finally go solo. Luckily for us, his designs are not the only thing that sets him apart as his unique and eccentric personality embodies all aspects of his work. I sat down with James to dig for oil ad find out what inspires the man behind the sewing machine.
What inspires you?
Kris Van Assche. I have enjoyed his progression through the seasons and his journey (from a design point of view) has been very inspiring for me.
Is it true you went to an all girls school to study dress making? What was the experience like, minus the obvious choice in ladies?
In my last couple of years at school I moved to an all girls school to study art, photography and textiles. It was amazing in every way. Had to keep my hormones in check and focus on working which was easier said than done. I did get in trouble quite a few times! Whoops...
One season you chose to do your complete collection in black. What spurred such a bold and big statement?
The black gold from the ground...crude oil. I was really inspired in the beginning by the whole concept of the world moving because of this stuff and how it had so many positives and so many negatives. I found this to be really interesting as I researched more into its effects and what it does and why it does it. I looked through some old chemistry books and found the distillation process of crude oil. I loved the tiers and every fabric in my collection represented a different tier of oil, this then led to the layers and slices in the clothing and the aggressive look I portrayed.
What is your next move after leaving the Fashion Mode fashion house ?
I have moved into an amazing new studio which is ALL MINE! I am currently producing my new S/S13 collection which I am really really excited about.
I am also the creative director for a new company (it's a bit hush-hush) which is going to be launched in June/July.
I am also making dresses for clients (I was a dress maker once upon a time) and am currently in talks about making clothes for a new TV program that I will be able to discuss soon.
So now that you have a studio, which is all yours, talk us through a typical "James Hillman" day.
Wake up 8am - shower, dress and have the biggest coffee in the world with scrambled eggs and answer emails (get the worst part of the day over and done with).
Then write a list of things to do, which is normally just added on the list from the day before. It seems to be a never ending story and I never get what I want done. So annoying.
Then I get on with whatever needs to be done with my small but amazing team of interns (and I am always looking to expand my amazing team so if anyone wants to apply let me know!)
Pattern cutting, designing, sewing prototypes, sourcing fabrics, liaising with manufacturers etc. It's hectic but it seems to be the fact why I love fashion so much. It's more than doing a sketch and saying to someone - do this for me. I want to be involved in every part.
I normally finish when I keep making stupid mistakes, normally because I am so tired that usually starts around 12am-2am and I call it a day well spent!
If we stepped into the studio right now, which song would be on replay?
Oh my interns hate me. I always have a song/songs of the moment. In this moment it is actually two!
One is where I got my inspiration for the mood of my new collection which is Yonkers by Tyler, the creator and the other is the song that I put on repeat constantly to keep me working hard and get the adrenaline going - Supermenz (we're not) by Kitsune Maison. Love it.
Do you have a lucky charm?
Yes. It's a small photo of my grandmother who sadly passed away not so long ago. She was my everything and she was the person who believed in me the most, and pushed me to follow my heart. An amazing woman! The last thing she said to me with a smile was "Right you! Bugger off!"
Three things we don't know about you.
1. Last year I was really low; I went home to Jersey for one day and went to my secret place from when I was a child just to sit, contemplate and mull over things, then flew home again. No one ever knew. It was the most peaceful I have been in so long I can't even remember.
2. I was bulimic for 5 years.
3. I have a fascination for Italian Women! My god!(One in particular!)