You probably best know Proudlock from his role in hit tv show 'Made In Chelsea', but with a background in fine art and a successful fashion business; Serge DeNimes, proudlock has so much more to offer than your average reality tv star. I first met Proudlock at his 'bloggers breakfast' last December and have been closely following the progress and movements of the brand ever since. Last week Ollie presented 'Proudlock's Carnival '86' at Intimate Modern to showcase some of his mum, Lena Proudlock's photography from Rio in the seventies. Photography from the book Rio Carnival has then been transferred onto a range of t-shirts and jumpers for Serge DeNimes. I popped down to Intimate Modern to spend an evening with other likeminded journalists, bloggers and the odd Made In Chelsea star thrown in for good measure. I met Proudlock to talk Serge DeNimes, his collaborations, and the use of denim in his designs in the very near future.
You have a background in fine art, how do you think this benefits the brand?
I've specified in art since I was about thirteen, through my mum I am a very creative person. Even when I used to paint and create stuff on canvas and have exhibitions I always used to print my stuff onto t-shirts as well. From a young age I was always linking art and fashion, so for me as apposed to putting my creativity onto canvas by using paint, I'm just doing it in a slightly different art form. It was a really natural development so for me it just felt right and I hope that that benefits the brand. The three most important things for the brand are music, art and fashion. Serge isn't just about fashion, it's about a lifestyle and I want the brand to act as a platform for up-and-coming musicians, artists and designers. We have recently started Serge OffBeat Sessions, we find unsigned acts and musicians, we shoot them in a cool location on Shoreditch High Street. We lots of people coming down to the event they wear the clothes and then play some great music. For me being able to do other things not just designing the clothes makes the brand stronger and builds a community. Bringing everything back to creativity to me is important.
You must be so proud to have your mum's photography on one of your collections.
Yeah I have my mums photography in my Rio collection and it's great because ultimately all of my creativity comes from her. This whole thing is mainly about my mums photography rather than the clothes. We obviously have a little pop up shop down here at the moment so it's about merging the two. For me obviously the story behind that first collection and the Rio collection has come from my mum and her first husband when they went to Rio in the Seventies. They made this amazing book and I've always just been in love with it and thought the images were amazing. I've always wanted to do something with them and for me to be able to do a small collection and push this whole Rio theme is great. I wanted to put on this show for mum and showcase some of her original art works and showcase them in an art form and show people where the images came from. The event last week was a great turn out and everyone had a great time.
Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Oliver Sweeney.
I've built a brand under my own name, Oliver Proudlock where I will be doing a lot of design collaborations and this will be my first one, with Oliver Sweeney. I set up my style blog last year, it's a really simple concept, a different look each day. I wanted to do it to show that I have my own kind of style and to build relationships with other brands. The Oliver Sweeney collaboration actually came about thanks to my style blog. They were interested in getting some stuff to me to wear on the blog and from their I built a great relationship with the brand. It's great now to see the products and the samples, the attention to detail and the quality of the product is just amazing. They will be available to pre-order at the end of April and then they will be in stores in May. We are shooting the campaign at the end of the month, which I will be modelling in. It's nice to do something slightly different and it gives me an insight into different products. Later down the line if I want to start doing shoes for Serge DeNimes then I have a great insight into the process.
So what can we expect from your new collection?
Our new collection is slightly bigger, we still are continuing with our t-shirt ranges and we have extended some of them. We now have the cross range, our logo t-shirts, and our good life tee's. Then we started on sweatshirts , we have been playing around with floral prints and printing on the sleeves etc. We have our beanies and jewellery and our new snapbacks which come out at the end of this week. I didn't want to overload everyone with too much stuff, I want the brand to organically grow. I love working on new products and for the winter I want to start looking at bomber jackets and what I really want to start focusing on is using the material denim.
How do you plan to incorporate denim within your designs?
We are slowly touching upon using denim now as in the future we want to be a denim based brand. We are starting off with snapbacks that are all made of denim and then add denim touches to t-shirts and sweatshirts. We want to slowly add little bits of denim and then eventually just work with denim and eventually go into jeans. I just wanted to establish the brand on one product, which was the t-shirt, something that I'm really familiar with and then slowly build up the brand. I think working with jeans and denim is a big task in itself and to just all of a sudden bring out jeans wouldn't be good.
How is everything going with the brand?
The brand is going well the brand awareness is picking up and we are getting into a lot more stores. The brand is moving in the direction and at the speed that I can control. I think as soon as you get to the point where you can't control it, it starts to go downhill. Especially with online sales and with social media if things don't go well people can destroy your brand. At the moment I am happy with the way it's going. Maybe when some of the other things I'm doing starts to slow down then we can think about taking it to the next level.
Do you like to keep your role in Made in Chelsea separate to the brand?
Yes I definitely want to keep them separate as they are very different but at the same time I recognise that I need to use the profile that I've got from the show to push the brand. They are separate entities but they are two major parts of my life and I have to use them to help each other. It is hard to keep the two separate and trying to find the right balance.
Interview by Katie Handy-Beith