Cutting Edge – An Interview With ClothSurgeon
Nardene Scott gets the low-down from one of 2013's most exciting designers, ClothSurgeon...
Just ten months into trading, ClothSurgeon – named so due to Rav Matahru’s scalpel cutting ways – has already built up an impressive clientele. Linking the bespoke end of things with streetwear allows ClothSurgeon to provide quality timeless pieces that the likes of A$AP Rocky and Tinie Tempah can’t seem to get enough of, even King Kendrick has to make an appointment!
Words by Nardene Scott. Photography by Pharaoh.
How and why did Cloth Surgeon begin and did you expect it to grow to the level it has over the past few years?
The name came while I was at college studying fashion a few years back, I would always cut my pattern pieces with a scalpel, and my tutor said ‘You’re like a surgeon!’ So the name was born and ClothSurgeon began trading 10 months ago. I needed a new lease of life design-wise; I wanted to create my own vision and brand and thought it was time, so I ventured out on my own. I didn’t know what to expect, I just aimed to release products I believed in and was 100% happy with.
Considering you’re a fairly new brand, what would you say is the hardest part of your role?
Well I pretty much do everything from pattern cutting to post, it’s just me and now my wife Parv has come on board to help. It has been really hard work, but most things worth having you have to work hard for. Having a small team helps me keep control on everything, but the business is growing so will need to expand.
Can you remember where your first experience of pattern cutting or designing came from?
I would always sit and design or draw from a young age but the earliest recollection of me being serious about design was about eight when I drew a trainer. It had a Swoosh, air bubble from Nike, Torsion bar from adidas, Hexalite and Pump from Reebok, I pleaded with my mum to send it to Nike. Luckily my designs today are somewhat more refined! Pattern cutting, I remember watching Jason and the Argonauts (1963) while my family was watching, I ran upstairs and created a toga imitating Jason, cutting up one of my mum’s dresses. I must have been about seven; it was a very masculine Toga (laughs).
What is the ethos behind ClothSurgeon and how do you think you’ve grown as a brand since you first begun?
The brands ethos is heavily based on quality. Understanding each process of making a garment I feel is very important, and integral to what you produce. The growth itself has been very organic nothing has been forced.
What difference do you think the celebrity endorsements have made to the popularity of your brand on a whole and which acts/celebs in particular have been great to work with?
The acts/celebs have projected what I do to a worldwide audience, its been great working with all of them; the same applies to all customers/ clients, as they have their own ideas, some more decisive than others. With the unlimited options it’s sometimes quite hard to make a decision. That’s where I can evolve the client’s/customer’s initial idea and develop it into something unique and personal, to the customer’s fit, details, and fabric choices.
You seem to perfectly align yourself with both the streetwear and high end world. How difficult has that been and do you feel this is the way streetwear is heading, into a more bespoke area, using luxury fabrics and limited edition lines, etc.
I suppose I like to generically modify the mens’ wardrobe, taking classic shapes and silhouettes and adding a ClothSurgeon touch, may it be through fabric, fit or details. I feel streetwear is at a luxury comfort level right now.
What is it about your brand ClothSurgeon that you think attracts the high end customers that it does?
I think people can see the quality and hopefully the passion I have and put into my work which attracts a customer that desires a highly consid- ered quality product.
What can we look forward to this season from ClothSurgeon?
I will introduce more tailoring and a more grown feel to the collection, continuing the use of luxurious fabrics and classic streetwear staples. The initial inspiration is from the movie New Jack City, my muse being Nino Brown [Wesley Snipes]. Early 90s is an era I am still obsessed with.
What is your style tip for the AW13 season?
Spend a bit more and buy quality timeless pieces.
What advice would you give to other people trying to build a brand here in the UK?
Build a brand that stands for something. Have a brand philosophy and educate yourself in all fields of fashion before you start a brand, just to make a quick buck.
What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve picked up whilst working in the UK fashion industry?
I guess it’s been quite surprising and overwhelming how the brand can be known worldwide in such a short space of time.
Over the next few years, where do you see ClothSurgeon heading and would you collaborate with any other brands and/or artists?
I hope to continue working with artists and developing great relationships, there are a number of collaborations I would like to do, but building the brand alone is the most important thing.
What has been your proudest moment so far in your career?
I have had some incredible people visit and reach out to me, who are in design, that appreciate what I am doing. This makes me extremely proud, happy and content to get recognition from people who I respect within the industry.