Christopher Shannon has just opened a web store, by which we mean Christopher Shannon opened a web store last Thursday. The designer did a tweet about it and all sorts under his @shannonmenswear handle. So, very formally, the label now has it’s own retail space on the World Wide Web. Hurrah.
Rewind a couple of months and the designer has ‘just’ shown his AW15 collection at London Collections: Men. There were knitted sweaters that bore the sarcastic message ‘Thanks for Sharing’, near-fully un-popped tracksuit bottoms a la Melanie Chisholm, and supermarket carrier bags on heads, inspired by a video of a guy getting slapped mid-interview by a Greggs bag. At the bottom of it all were CAT boots.
“I liked the video CAT made backstage of the show, it really felt quite like me,” the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund winner tells Clash, “I hated the footage of me though.” The video, below, is just one aspect of what a commercial collaborator can bring to show day, and beyond.
Impressed by the work CAT had previously done with fellow menswear designer Martine Rose – “and she said she had enjoyed working with them” – Shannon first hooked up with the Colorado boot people back in June for his SS15 collection.
“I think any brand you have associations with as a youth always resonates,” he confirms, “and also brands that have such recognisable styles as the Colorado boot. As a designer it always feels rewarding I think, to bring something new to something so established.”
Prior to CAT, this same attitude was translated via collaborations with Kickers, Eastpak and the Cambridge Satchel Company. Elsewhere Shannon has worked closely with the stylist and accessories designer, Judy Blame.
“I’m not a fine art painter,” he reasons, “fashion is very much a team effort, there are so many people involved. I constantly soundboard with my team and ask for feedback, I’m not someone who really likes to work in solitude.” For Shannon’s SS15 womenswear collection – the label’s first – designer Caitlin Price made up part of said team; Craig Green meanwhile, collaborated on headwear for SS12 and SS13.
“Footwear projects are always a different tempo,” the designer asserts, returning to the new CAT collab. “The lead time is so long to see something compared to making pieces in my studio where you can turn rough ideas around in a few hours, rather than months.”
His tips for a productive partnership follow the simple formula of “lots of ideas, lots of cash and a fair bit of trust,” while of the thick soled stompers he created for CAT, Shannon explains: “I just wanted something that felt new without losing what is iconic about the boot, a new way of seeing it and a new way of putting it on.”