Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Interview with Gemma Carver

Last week I went to Nonchalant's pop-up Shop, organised by Such and Such Studio. The collective of artists and jewelry makers are renting out their studio in Leith regularly for exhibtions, pop-up shops etc. The space is just perfect for events like this.

Gemma was so nice to give me a interview about the the brand Nonchalant, her inspirations, her current collection and favorite places in Edinburgh, before she headed to India again last week.

L: How did everything start with Nonchalant?

G: Nonchalant started about four years ago and just after I worked a while for other people, I wanted to do my own label. I decided to do Nonchalant, but then wanted to go back to do a little bit more production. I worked in a chashmere production house in India for 9 months and then felt more comfortable to start my own label.

L: Who or what has the biggest influence on your work?

G: That‘s an interesting question. I would say that India has the biggest influence on my work, especially the colours, because you always see so many beautiful bright colours everywhere and women are wearing those crazy coloured saris on the street. Furthermore the aesthetics and social structure of India which finds itself in rich and poor. This can be seen in my work, as well, I often use rich fabrics and jewels and try to contrast it with more simple and cheaper fabrics.

L: Why is India the place of your choice?

G: It has always been a place which felt like home since I travelled to India the first time. I started working there for my graduate show and experienced that India has this unlimited potential in terms of dying, embellishment, crystal work, laser printing. Additionally Indians have the skills to everything I wanted to make and I was overwhelmed by the crazy possibilties they had there. I fell in love with this country and I have been going back ever since.

L: What does designing mean to you?

G: I think that anyone can draw a sketch, but translate it into a pattern and then translate the pattern into a fabric and produce it in the end, is the real challenge. Designing is not just the first concept for me, but the whole process of knowing everything from the design itself to the whole manufacturing process. To be a good designer you have to know everything, a simple idea is just not enough.

L: What is the name of your future collection and what will be the story behind it?

G: I always think about the story first, before I decide for a specific name. The next story is about survival and adaptation. I want to create a wardrobe that fit into your bag and which is movable. My ideal creation would be to have only ten pieces of clothing which are all interchangeable and as garments themselves are adaptable. I want to make it concise.

L: What kind of materials do you like to use for your collections?

G: Definitely silks, leathers, fur or maybe even fake fur, because it is always about being ethical. The last collection was about being a warrior and feminine at the same time. This has been reflected in my materials, as well. In my next collection I will use a lot of silk jerseys and bamboo fabrics as organic fabrics. It shall create a more natural range and „back to the basic“ atmosphere.

L: Where can we buy your collection?

G: You can buy my current collection in Godiva which is my main retailer in Scotland and you can also check it online.

L: How does a typical working day at Nonchalant look like?

G: Most of the time, I am in India and there I pick up my tailor in the morning with my motor bike and drive him to his work place which is my studio and we discuss the jobs of the day, new designs and fabrics. During lunch I go out to pick up a fresh juice and often head to the beach to swim a little bit. In the evening I pick up my tailor again and drive him home.

Coming to Edinburgh as your second city of choice...

L: ...what is your favorite place to relax?

G: Mmh...this is a hard one. I usually come here to work, but I really like to go up Carlton Hill, enjoy the 360° view and realize where I am.

L: ... what is your favorite restaurant?

G: One of my favorite places is Urban Angel, because you can get organic food there and you can get little main courses. Good for trying everything!

L: ... where do you go out for drinks?

G: Bramble is a good place to go out for drinks.

L: ... where do you go out for dancing?

G: My favorite place is Bella‘s (her assistant) living room. It is like we are having our own private club there and I prefer private parties anyway.

L: ... where do you shop in Edinburgh?

G: The best places to shop are, apart from Godiva, of course, is Corniche which is a shop which has a few of my favorite designers like Comme des Garcons and Vivienne Westwood.

Thanks very much Gemma for the interview!

XX Lara

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