Clothsurgeon is the London-based luxury British menswear brand that combines street culture, art and high fashion to create a ‘Savile Row meets streetwear’ tailored aesthetic. We caught up Rav, the man behind the brand to find out about the inspiration behind his AW17 collection.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
I’m Rav, the founder of the brand and service, clothsurgeon. We’re primarily a menswear label but we also offer a full bespoke service, where you’re able to create exactly what you want.
Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion?
My first job was as a professional footballer. I signed pro for Leeds United at the age of 17, after coming up through their youth ranks, but I left football at the age of 21 and decided to try my hand at another passion: design. I wanted to create product, and not just consume it. I did a foundation [course] at Loughborough University, and then went on to study at London College of Fashion, but I dropped out after two weeks due to the the expense of living in London. I then completed my BA Hons at Leeds College Of Art & Design, and decided to move back to London in hope of a future in the fashion industry.
Dr. Martens, is such a great brand with a rich history, and a great ability to cross over so many subcultures. It has such a strong hold on British culture.
What was your first foray into fashion after university?
At House of Billiam, a small brand, I was making hoodies from suiting wools. I came and grew the offering and started to create small collections. I learnt a lot from my time there. As there [were] only two of us at the brand, it was extremely hands-on. I would be constructing pieces, sourcing fabrics and looking after the day-to-day running of an up-and-coming brand. I decided to start my own project while I was there, I’d already developed the name and website when I was at Uni and it was time to do something with it. I wanted to grow and develop differently to the way HOB was set up. I soon ventured out on my own and never looked back.
What was the inspiration behind the AW17 collection?
I never really give myself enough time to create a collection, our focus is on the unique bespoke service. Collections will be designed, fabrics sourced and sampled all in-house within 6 weeks, on a made to order basis. It’s a way for me to creatively put something out and tell a story of where the brand is at, at that moment in time.
With the latest collection, we shot it in an the oldest cloth merchants in East London. They have some beautiful fabrics but in small quantities, so when it’s gone it’s gone. The setting looks quite chaotic, industrial and manic, which is a contrast to the beautifully finished garment and composed look, all working together in harmony. I always create in outfits, visualising in my mind and on paper to how it may look, and I try to align everything with the fabrics I use, to create a cohesive collection.
The setting looks quite chaotic, industrial and manic, which is a contrast to the beautifully finished garment and composed look, all working together in harmony.
Do you have any advice for young menswear designers?
I would simply say find your lane, concentrate on your style aesthetic, and stick your foot down. Put everything you have into it and don’t worry what other people are doing around you. Build something authentic, that relates to you as a person and designer.
Do you have a project or collaboration you’re most proud of?
I am proud of all our projects as they are all a true labour of love! From working with Selfridges and United Arrows to creating amazing individual Bespoke pieces for clients.
Name three tracks you can’t hear enough of:
Heartbeats by The Knife, always put me in a beautiful mind state. Other than that, Outkast, Nas & NERD “In Search Of”, is always on through the week.
More current listening, Giggs & Sampha.
Find your lane, concentrate on your style aesthetic, and stick your foot down.
What’s your favourite thing about the city you live in?
London for me is the best city in the world. Without sounding cliche, it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world with a mixing pot of different cultures, there’s always something going on. Inspiration is on your doorstep. My favourite hangout would be The London Edition for breakfast, amazing pancakes. The Basquiat Exhibition at the Barbican is worth a visit, with so much of his work on view. Japanese Landscape at Kew Gardens for a nice family stroll, and Soldiers Eggs at Allpress… always perfect. Dinner at Novikov and The Curtain for drinks is always fun.
Do you remember your first pair of Dr. Martens?
My first pair of DM’s were ‘hand me downs’ as was most of my stuff at a young age. They were perfectly worn in, as my cousin had done all the hard work for me! Dr. Martens is such a great brand, with a rich history, and a great ability to cross so many subcultures, from mods to punks to the ‘fashionistas’. It has such a strong hold on British culture.
Any future plans for yourself and clothsurgeon?
Just to keep growing and building on what we have created so far. Pushing the bespoke service, and interesting collaborative projects. We have the ability to make what you want, and we aim to get that story out there.
And finally, what do you stand for?
The clothsurgeon motto, MAKE WHAT YOU WANT! We give the customer the ability to realise their ideas with my guidance.