With fashion month now done and dusted-for a while at least-we caught up with someone who took their turn early on in the season. Showing on the first day of London Fashion Week-as part of the Central Saint Martins MA show-Nicomede Talavera's menswear came after the brown, navy and metallic pleated frocks and before the grey and red tunics. His collection saw a series of black and white looks walk the runway, each layered with knee length dresses. As he enjoys the last few weeks of student life, we asked him about his new collaboration with Eastpak.
Congratulations on your MA collection. How did it feel having your work walk down the runway at Somerset House?
Thank you, it was amazing! I first watched the MA show at Somerset House three years ago when I was on the final year of my BA course and it was an incredible feeling to experience it myself. Mind you, to see 8 months work come and go in 2 minutes felt way too fast!
How did you find the MA course in contrast to the BA?
The MA to me felt like a natural progression from the BA. As after 3/4 years of learning the basics and exploring my style and approach to design, the MA was now the time to apply a more professional ‘real world’ mind set. I was encouraged to really think about a customer, work outside my comfort zone and do things I wouldn't usually do, but also work with my strengths to create a unique aesthetic at a professional standard. It was definitely super intense and I worked solidly for 18 months, but now that it is over I can’t think of a better foundation from which to start my career.
Where do you seek your inspiration?
For me inspiration will always come from what I see around me, in the form of sub cultures, youth movements and streetwear. It has to be relevant and relatable to people, not just from the pages of a book or walls of a gallery.
For my MA collection, the starting inspiration was Muslim boys around east London, and the way they mix cultural dress with streetwear. Growing up in Hounslow, (an area with a large Muslim contingent), I have always been inspired by this combination of different dress and how layers, extended lengths and minimal shapes can be worn in an effortless and masculine way that doesn't conform to the stereotypical Westernised male silhouette.
For research I visited Whitechapel, Brick Lane, Dalston and Hounslow and recorded the Muslim boys through photographs and quick sketches. Simple things like the way they wore their backpacks, layered their sweaters over long crisp white shirts and mixed classic menswear fabrics (such as corduroy which became my main fabric), and sportswear textures was all really inspiring to me. I then combined this research with the works of Ellsworth Kelly and Lucio Fontana to create a refined interpretation that combined the beauty found within my research images with the modernity and minimalism found in Kelly and Fontana’s work.
Who is the Nicomede Talavera man?
I’ve been asked this question a few times before and find it difficult to answer without sounding cheesy, but I guess they are somebody who wants to take a risk and look interesting and progressive but without being too lary and in-your-face.
This is your second collaboration with Eastpak. What originally drew you to the brand?
I have always been a huge fan of Eastpak (especially their collaborations) and have bought bags from their collaborations with Raf Simons and Rick Owens. What I find really appealing is how they strike the perfect balance between utility and practicality, whilst being progressive and fashion forward. There is also a sense of youthful energy that surrounds the brand and their links to sub cultures and music are also really inspiring to me.
And now you're onto collaboration number two. Can you tell us a bit about the bags and process behind them?
I had been looking at a book that documents streetwear from the noughties and loved how students and young people personalised their backpacks. I wanted to develop this notion of customisation through charms and add-ons and that’s why each bag has an iridescent and white leather keychain charm. The inverted pocket detailing and colour pallette came from my research into minimal art and artists, especially Lucio Fontana’s ‘slit series.’
Which bag do you use the most from the range?
The all white leather backpack.
And finally, what's next for the label?
I have a couple more weeks left at CSM and then I’m out on my own so I am going to see what opportunities are available job-wise, and also for me to pursue my label.
Interview: Zoe Whitfield