Mr Oliver Spencer set up his eponymous label in 2002, fusing the gap between popular streetwear style and typically British hunting and military influences. Wonderland headed to his brand new Soho base this week, for a night or booze and fashionspeak in association with British craft lager giants, Saint. Check out our exclusive back and front stage shots of Spencer’s London Fashion Week show back in February, above.
What was it that first made you want to get into fashion and designing?
Some people put clothing on and they don’t really notice why they’re wearing it, but I’ve always been into fashion and paid attention to what I’m wearing. I put clothes on, and I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about it, but I always wonder what I’m doing with it, what’s its functionality…
The collaboration with Saint is a celebration of the “Best of British”. Why is the homegrown link so important to you?
I’m really behind manufacturing in Britain, so anything I can produce here I will produce here. More than half the line is made in Britain, and that’s important to me.
How long did it take before you felt like you’d made it in the fashion world?
A long time! I opened my first store when I was 22, and it’s been a really long slog, but opening on Soho’s been great: it’s nice to be on home turf.
And why did you decide to extend the brand to womenswear?
My feeling was that there was a bit of a gap in the market for more androgynous kinds of pieces, and so I’ve just slowly moved into that. I actually employed a womenswear designer about a year ago – I was producing clothing that was too male!
What has been your proudest fashion moment to date?
My last show at London Fashion Week (autumn/winter 2012/13). I didn’t really think I could do a venue like that – it was a big venue (Courtyard Show Space, Somerset House).
So who would your ideal client be?
We’ve had all types of people in our various stores over the years. I’m here for the customers, and it will be like that forever. Essentially, if anyone asks me what I do, I’m a shopkeeper. It’s what we do: keep shop. So, no, I don’t really have an ideal client so to speak. But I do have a guy in mind who knows about clothing; he’d mix us up with other brands as well, and he’s probably going to have been shopping with us for quite a while. Building a base is really important, it just takes time…
What are your directions for the future?
I’ve got quite a few future projects going on, mostly to do with colour: colour blocking and bright, faded colours. There’s quite a lot of that going on. Spring/Summer’s a bit of a nightmare at the moment, and we’ve got to have it ready by 15th June, but, anyway, we’ll get there…
Words: Samantha Southern
Photos from Oliver Spencer’s London Fashion Week show: Hatnim Lee