You’ve created a collection alongside The Beatles: Get Back, the upcoming Disney+ documentary on The Beatles. What was your starting point when designing it?
“It was funny – a few years ago, before the launch of our first Beatles collection, it occurred to me that, as a brand, I’d never done anything with The Beatles, [which seemed odd] considering the connection, so in 2019, we did the All Together Now collection inspired by Yellow Submarine, and it was just such an enjoyable project to work on and really quite emotional for me. When I heard that the incredible [director] Peter Jackson was working on Get Back, which is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and after seeing a two-hour rough cut of Peter’s film, it just felt like a no-brainer; it’s a really exciting thing to do, and a very privileged thing to be able to do, too. The Beatles’ long-time collaborators The Fool did the artwork for the Get Back album, and it’s a cover I have always loved. I have such great stories from dad about The Fool that it felt really special to be able to use this incredible piece of artwork that’s trippy and psychedelic because, at the same time, I was working on my summer 2022 collection, which was inspired by mushrooms and features a lot of mushroom prints, so it all felt beautifully connected. I looked through The Beatles’ archive at all the different covers and was reminded just how iconic so many of them were and still are to this day, so we pulled a handful of my favorites and used that as the starting point.”
My favorite piece is the regenerated nylon bomber jacket that was inspired by a piece I found in my dad’s wardrobe and has this incredible illustration of The Beatles on the back; I just love this piece”
Talk us through some of the key pieces…
“I watched the film, and to me it felt like if you’re doing a Beatles collaboration, the tailoring is something they were known for – how they were styling it, how they were wearing it. Their personalities all came out so clearly in how they each curated their looks. But I already do tailoring in my ready-to-wear line, so I wanted to look beyond literal references and instead take the spirit of everything about The Beatles and what that moment was and celebrate it. When I was growing up, I noticed my mum and dad used to share their wardrobe, especially in the Wings era, and I remember thinking how cool that always felt and how it made so much sense, so it was very important to me that this collection was genderless to reflect that. When you look at [it], it has two sides: there’s the escapism side, which is super-vibrant, creative and ‘thinking outside the box’ – very much of that period, which was getting into psychedelia and pop culture – and The Fool did such a wonderful job capturing that. Then we contrasted that vibrancy with the monochrome looks, which revolve around all the amazing typography we were looking at.
“My favorite piece is the regenerated nylon bomber jacket that was inspired by a piece I found in my dad’s wardrobe and has this incredible illustration of The Beatles on the back; I just love this piece. I’m also obsessed with the jeans, which use the same illustration split across both legs. I think the patchwork cardigan coat is very cool, so are The Fool collective’s trippy and colorful graphics we used on T-shirts, jumpers and hoodies. The collection just has so much hope and love and life in it – I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
The documentary features unseen archival footage of The Beatles. What’s it like watching these iconic tapes of your father?
“To me, Get Back is about so much more than just a song or a concert – it’s the timeless story of lifelong friends coming together to create something incredible, with laughter and utter fearlessness, while standing at the forefront of change. Peter [Jackson] worked with over 60 hours of footage, all shot in 1969, as the band plan their first live show in more than two years. Peter did the most wonderful job to bring across the true warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defines the band’s legacy, and it gives such an intimate insight into that special period. My favorite part of the documentary is where we get to see the band’s last live performance together – a rooftop concert on Savile Row – which is the first time that show has ever been seen publicly in its entirety. It’s such a major moment and the culmination of so many amazing years together. Peter did a two-hour edit for close friends and family, so we all watched it together. It was a moment I’ll never forget – being in a room with those people, many of whom have been in my life since the beginning – and it all just felt very emotional to be able to watch it together.”
You recently launched your ‘Future of Fashion’ exhibit at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Can you tell us more about this?
“My team and I leveraged the global platform of COP26 to showcase the limitless possibilities of material innovation – using our current achievements to inspire future actions, from private investment to government incentives for nature-positive solutions.
“I called the exhibit the ‘Future of Fashion’, which was designed to bring our amazing material innovations to life – literally! At the center of the installation was a live fungi display. For my summer 2022 collection, I was inspired by the idea that mushrooms are the future of fashion, so I wanted to continue that narrative. Surrounding the fungi, and alongside hard-hitting facts about the current state of the industry, we had key pieces that exemplified our commitment to innovation, including the first-ever bags and garments made from Bolt Threads’ Mylo™️ mycelium leather [vegan lab-grown mushroom leather] – hence the live fungi display – as well as vegan, plant-based and regenerated materials crafted from waste, such as the world’s first vegan football boots, which we just launched with Adidas and footballer Paul Pogba, and a hoodie made from Evrnu, which is a fantastic technology that transforms post-consumer-waste cotton into a pulp that can then be converted into yarn. It’s 100 percent recyclable, which means it can be recycled over and over again; it’s completely circular.”
To me, Greta Thunberg is a fucking rock star. I think it’s incredible how she is the face of a whole generation who are standing up and telling us that our house is on fire, and that governments need to wake up and act”
Who are the current activists and changemakers that you see as having a positive impact on the next generation?
“I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my time [at COP26]. It really felt like the voice of the youth was missing and that only people of privilege got a seat at the table and had the chance to be listened to. I think it was a missed opportunity that the youth were so underrepresented in the conversation, because they are the ones who will suffer the consequences of climate change and are so much more aware of it being a problem, but also of the potential solutions. When they speak, we owe it to them to listen. To me, Greta Thunberg is a fucking rock star. I think it’s incredible how she is the face of a whole generation who are standing up and telling us that our house is on fire, and that governments need to wake up and act. It’s incredibly powerful. During COP26, I was lucky enough to meet and be part of a panel talk with Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, who, at the young age of 25 has already brought so much attention to the urgent issues of the Congo Basin rainforest and Uganda’s worrying climate issues. It was an inspiring reminder of the power of the next generation, who are the voices of tomorrow.”
Your SS22 show was a historic moment, as it’s the first time a bag made entirely from lab-grown mushroom leather has appeared on a fashion week runway – does this feel like a turning point for the brand and sustainability in the fashion industry?
“We have been working with Bolt Threads since 2016, creating different Mylo™️ prototypes: first our iconic Falabella, then moving on to the world’s first garments, and most recently the Frayme Mylo™️, which we featured on our latest catwalk and plan to commercialize in 2022. This is a huge milestone, not only for us as a brand, but for the industry as a whole, showing we have finally gotten to a stage where commercializing these innovations is on the horizon. If there is enough support, I truly believe this is only the beginning and in a few years’ time this type of material will be the norm.”