Interview with Cunnington & Sanderson
Cunnington & Sanderson is a womenswear design duo composed by Matthiew Cunnington and John Sanderson. They create emotional garments, where every volume, detail, drapping has its own meaning, and always following a narrative concept. They first met at the University of Central England fashion design, and are now an independant british fashion label based in the North of England since 2010. They have been rewarded several times : in 2012, they received the On/Off Land Rover Visionary Award, in 2010 ; finalists for the Mango Fashion Award ; in 2008, Matthiew was awarded the Grand Prize of the jury at the Festival International de la Mode et de la Photographie in Hyeres - France; and they also were one of the 9 finalists of our last SPOON x ELLO contest ! Today, they started a crowdfunding campaign in order to fund an exhibition during the upcoming London Fashion Week at the Oxo Tower Wharf, where they can show their new collection. We asked them about their work processes and the meaning of being independant designers today.
"Being an owner of a Fashion Label is that no two days are the same"
You are now for 7 years a british womenswear design duo. Can you tell us about your daily routine at the office ? How your two personnalities answer to each other in your creative process ?
One of our main sources of inspiration & rewards is draping, and luckily we both have a similar taste. Our designs can be different but we aim towards the same narrative of our collection and to creating a new form from our imagination. For us working as a duo drives the collection forward's. Collaborating on idea's and having support there when you need it, and to share those magical times of excitement and joy, on the success of creation. All this with some one who understands the time, energy, and passion that has been devoted into the collection to make it happen.
One of the great pleasures to being an owner of a Fashion Label is that no two days are the same. You have to constantly multitask between priorities. Today began by recapping over yesterday & discussing how the new Autumn Winter collection 'caution' is progressing. Discussing the particular looks/garments we are working on. Making alterations on the paper patterns, remaking the garment to specific modification, selecting the correct fabric for the garment, deciding on finishes, trimmings and detailing. Purchasing trimmings and materials online and in local store Checking the arrival of new fabric, documenting orders, checking budgets, coresponding to suppliers, calculating prices. Arranging skype meetings. Crowdfunding campaign - uploading a short video for promotion, designing and producing limited edition printed t-shirts for our campaign supporters. sending documentation for our proposed Exhibition at London Fashion Week. Including health & safety checks, sending campaign images, biography etc. Sending Invitations to our proposed Exhibition at London Fashion Week with On|Off. researching for a possible showroom. Making arrangements to meet with our production team tomorrow to discuss developments on the new collection.
"The whole process is a real privilege and also a journey of emotions"
According to you, What are the pros and cons of being independant designers ?
A key advantage to being an independent designer is that you have the pleasure to nurture your brand and products with your own vision & imagination - the development from inspiration turning into drawings evolving into fabrics, colours and trimmings, draping & designing into paper patterns and toiles and then the proud achievement of creating a collection is truly rewarding . Having the involvement and decision making on the whole process is a real privilege and also a journey of emotions, personal attachment and sentiment. Watching a garment evolve and develop from your own imagination to being worn by one of our customers is a truly magical gift to us. Our garments are individual with characteristics based on a narrative. We do not follow trends or try to meet expectations but instead choose to follow our own intuition & brand ethos and to providing original and thought provoking garments to our brand followers & supportive customer's. Craftmanship & creativity do not always work in line with being cost effective and being easy to produce. Cunnington & Sanderson are dedicated to making original emotive garments when receiving encouragement and positive feedback from our dedicated clientel. Disadvantage is that without financial support choices sometimes have to be made accordingly to budget rather than to recommendation or desires. With external knowledge & support our brand could grow and develop at a faster pace but this does not guarentee success. By approaching these challenges ourselves it can be timely and more costly because of mistakes which also takes away important decisions and choices which have to be obtained in an alternative form or method. We aim to reach people who understand that our work is like a craft, it is not only designing and making clothes but also 'creating' garments that have a personality & a narrative with their own characteristics. Cunnington & Sanderson aim to make designs that are timeless and that can be cherished.
"There is a wide range of possibilities out there for people who are independent, enthusiastic and motivated"
You chose an alternative and altruistic way for financing your exhibition project, a crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Do you feel kind a like a wind of change for independant designers ?
Are there more possibilities today to carry out a project like this ? We definitely feel a huge change for independent Designers. There is a wide range of possibilities out there for people who are independent, enthusiastic and motivated. Selling online is very popular and increasing in popularity. This is a good way to sell your own products if you can provide and maintain your own high standards of quality and excellent customer service. In todays market social media has a huge influence in reaching out worldwide such as Ello, Facebook & Instagram to share your campaign and your brand message. Cunnington & Sanderson hope that people see our campaign as a place to purchase our limited edition products, win garments and accessories as well as donate. All of which to give people the knowledge that they can and have personally helped towards supporting our brand to grow.
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