Literally translated as rotating transmission, Tourne de Transmission seeks to generate a message - a message to all those who see it, as spoken by all those who wear it. Founded by creative director Graeme Gaughan, TDT seeks to combine impactful imagery, textures and words to create a sartorial billboard. The end result? A distinctive hard-hitting handwriting that has garnered a truly global following. We caught up with Graeme Gaughan ahead of his SS17 show to talk the rise in menswear, inspiration for the new collection and why gender fluidity is going to break the fashion mould.
WJ: London Collections: Men is going from strength to strength with the projected growth of the menswear industry outperforming that of womenswear. Where do you think this has come from?
Graeme: I think London has always been known for its diversity and fearlessness when it comes to fashion. Traditional Menswear – unlike womenswear, has a lot more rules and restrictions. When these two things collide, it creates a really interesting output – where the rules are broken and the traditional way that men dress evolves dramatically. London holds a unique spectrum unlike anywhere else in the world, from Savile Row to schools like Central Saint Martins. Everyone is unique. Also, the cultural undercurrent of London really informs that rule breaking. Our music, art and club scene is crucial to mixing all those different ways of thinking together and creating something truly unique. With all that in place, men have the option along with the desire to dress more ambitiously.
WJ: Men’s Week has seen a similar shift to womenwear in so much that many brands are bucking the usual Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter show format. Why do you think this is and will Tourne De Transmission be following suit?
Graeme: I’m not sure if it’s seen as big a shift as womenswear has. True the system is a little dated but the pace of womenswear feels different to menswear. What I find more interesting is the blurring of gendered dressing. For example, women have always been interested in wearing my clothes – they’ll buy things oversized or undersized and style it in their own way which is great. I think notions like that are more important than trying to break out of the fashion system; it feels more organic to me.
WJ: Yes, there seems to be a real focus on sartorial gender fluidity for 2016 - particularly when it comes to urban design. Where do you see this direction taking the industry?
Graeme: The idea of gender fluidity is what actually can help break the outdated scheduling of fashion seasons because it will bring everything together and allow for longer periods for creative design. Time is really what this whole debate is about, because the pressure any designer faces are dictated by those drop dates and it really infringes on the creative ability of the designer. We’ve seen it happen a lot this year, huge names buckling under pressure or simply walking away saying enough is enough. Of course there will always be distinguishable men’s and women’s collections, which is fine – they are needed.
WJ: Bold, statement streetwear is at the heart of London style and your own. Why do you think this is and what sets TDT apart from the rest of the scene?
Graeme: I’ve never been a massive fan of the word streetwear because it means so many different things to many different people. From cultural movements in New York in the 80’s, to the current street style photography craze – the word is massively overused and can feel a little lazy. I think the notion in London is more about individual style. TDT plays a part in that I guess, in that it has its own aesthetic which is informed by eastern cutting, global clothing cultures and, of course, the pairing of imagery and words. But overall I think it’s my lack of training that most likely sets the label apart! When you haven’t been taught to do something you will find your own way - it was how I learnt music and now making clothing and other products.
WJ: When it comes to building your seasonal collections, just where do you find the inspiration?
Graeme: It can be from many different forms of media, or from trips to Art galleries or exibitions. One image, word or concept will stick out to me and it starts from there.This usually informs an umbrella concept which the parts of the clothing.
WJ: Where will you be taking the TDT brand direction for SS17?
Graeme: The core theory of TDTs ss17 collections came through a conversation with NYC based contemporary artist Chris Dorland who shares a love for global references toward mixed media. We started to discuss his recent "scanners" work, which I loved and began to talk about his use of huge vinyl billboard posters and campaign images within his work. And how in recent years these billboards were collected and used as shelter equipment by charities and humanitarian agencies to use in war zones for refugees or in the third worldly general to provide basic shelter after they were discarded by the western world. There was something quite off with this idea of media being made to make us want to spend money on something that’s a non-necessity while in another environment it is turned into one of the most essential of things. Basic shelter... And it's something I felt I wanted to touch on
WJ: Who are your L:CM designers to watch?
Graeme: Shows I always want to get to see if I can are Matthew Miller, CMMN SWDN, Liam Hodges & YMC…And Mihara Yasuhiro is showing in London for the first time and would really like to see that show.
Tourne de Transmission will be showing at LCM on Sunday 12th June.
Follow the coverage on Instagram @whosjacklondon
Words : Camilla Hunt | Fashion Editor