Tuesday, 28 June 2011


It's my first time to join graduation exhibition in London but I feel really great that you can find the designer's portfolio in the exhibition besides their final outcome. It's good for the visitors to understand the thought of the designers and how they develop their collection. Before I've been to the exhibition, I found Nicomede Talavera online. His jewellery collection impressed me and I contacted him for an interview. I went to his corner in the exhibition after the interview to feel his clothes in person which is a special experience for myself. I don't always say who is going to be the next star ( and I don't think I am the right person to say that.) but Nicomede will be the next London Star!

As a new member in the industry, what do you think about the fashion world?
I think that the fashion industry in London is a playground, its forever changing and jam-packed full of thriving and ambitious creative people that make it an inspiring but also challenging city to be based as a designer.

How do you describe your style?
I have found that exploring and mixing different fabrics is definitely a reoccurring theme in my work at the moment - most of the time my designs really begin with fabric as the starting point. I am really inspired by different textures, mixing fabrics and how the right choice of fabric can enhance a design and offer new opportunities and shapes. I also like taking unusual and unexpected fabrics and putting them in a fashion context; for example in the collection I made a coat from an upholstery fabric that was woven from old cassette tapes and hadn’t been used for clothing before. I think with menswear design fabrics are a really great way of reinventing design staples and classic shapes. My style is ever changing as being a young designer I’m still searching to find out what my definitive aesthetic is and I find it hard to pin point one specific style, but I have realised that I connect with colour, texture and shape. I guess in essence I am a maximalist but with a realist mindset so I always make sure that the pieces I design are wearable and believable as part of a modern man’s wardrobe.

What is your opinion of being a successful fashion designer?
I believe that what makes an successful fashion design is somebody who is free, open-minded, constantly searching for innovation, evolving with societal and cultural changes to always stay relevant - combined with a good business acumen and the concept of discipline.

Who is your favourite designer? Does he/she inspire you when you do your own designs?

I admire Raf Simon’s ability to constantly reinvent his aesthetic and push menswear
forward – whilst always staying relevant and innovative.

Can you tell me more about the collection? Which is the iconic piece in the collection and which one is your favourite?
My collection was inspired by the book ‘Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots’ and George Lucas’ cult 1971 film ‘THX 1138’. The collection of mug shots from 1870-1960 gave me a fascinating insight into the appearance and demeanor of these disheveled and wayward characters. Their hand-me-down clothes fitted too tightly oversized, hung languidly off their shoulders, or were disproportionate and skew-whiff. I then interjected the rawness of these images with the stark futuristic worker wear and uniform elements worn by the characters in THX 1138, but also the romanticism of the characters and there fight for freedom. It is about this fusion of the traditional and disheveled menswear garments such as trench coats, tailored jackets and overcoats being worn nonchalantly with an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. Combined with the strong linear shapes, harsh lines and fabrics from futuristic worker wear that set the tone for the whole collection. Culminating in oversized outerwear with odd proportions, high necklines, draped fronts, dropped shoulders, unusual pocket sizes and positioning, purposely creased and worn fabrics, cropped layers, stylised rips at the knees and chest, and multiple layers of fabric.

But my favourite element was the floral hand embroidery that was seen on a whole jacket and the sleeves of a nylon latex shirt. It gave the collection a romanticism that I loved and came from the feelings shown by the characters in THX 1138 as they yearned for freedom and love. All of the embroidery was done by hand on 11-point black binca and took around 2 months of constant work – but it was totally worth it!

How do you feel when you know your collection got many coverage from different media?
I am really grateful for all of the fantastic responses and coverage! Everything has really spiraled and spread out online so much quicker than I could have imagined. But it has really given me an amazing boost after working so hard non-stop on the collection for the past 6 months it’s amazing to finally be able to share it with other people!!

How did the Eastpak collaboration happen?
Basically my last project before I began designing my collection was a bag project and I always had Eastpak in the back of my mind during the project as the company that I was theoretically designing for - I have always been a huge fan of them as a company and especially how great all of their collaborations with designers have been.

So when it came to designing my main collection I knew that I really wanted to show bags alongside it and whilst I was designing the bags I thought – why not take a chance and actually approach Eastpak? So, I approached them way back in October 2010 with the idea of a collaboration, they were really keen and gave it the go ahead! And from that point onwards they gave me free reign over the designs, details and fabrics etc. which was fantastic. We kept in constant contact back and forth throughout every stage of the process and sampling and they were really amazing to work with!

The collaboration means that I have been able to design a range of showpiece bags to go alongside my collection with the backing of an incredibly experienced company who has opened a realm of possibilities that I didn’t imagine to be possible! They have an indisputable reputation and track record producing versatile and well-made luggage and bags, as well as collaborating with the best designers, such as Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Kris Van Assche and more on fashion-forward capsule collections. I really wanted the range to be as vast and varied as possible to really try and cover as many of the areas that I personally use bags for on a day-to-day basis. So alongside designing two re-inventions of Eastpak’s Iconic Padded Pak’r backpack, I also designed a laptop case, passport bag, holdalls, record bags etc. so that there were styles that covered many different uses and offered additional styles that weren’t part of the current Eastpak range. Working with them has enabled me to benefit from their experience and also reputation for quality and innovation.

Your jewellery are very impressive!! Can you tell me more about them?
I wanted to create something that was harsh and powerful but very simple. I wanted the jewellery to invoke the feeling of restraint and resemble shackles; but used magnets to fasten the pieces so that it still had the possibility of ease to wear and take off. I decided to collaborate with two CSM jewellery students, Olga Noronha and Kasia Piechocka because I wasn’t experienced in making jewellery and the ergonomics of jewellery design which they are! It was a really great learning process and we decided to use black varnished lime wood and we really loved the contrast between the grain of the wood and the streamlined high-sheen silver.

There are many new and up-coming designers in the industry. Is there anyone that you really appreciate?
I really admire and appreciate how Mary Katrantzou combines incredibly intricate, inspirational and beautiful prints with simple shapes and silhouettes. The contrast between the maximal and minimal is definitely a dynamic that I enjoy exploring too. I recently attended her discussion with Professor Louise Wilson at the ICA and listening to her talk about her aesthetic and approach to design was really insightful – I also really appreciate how she develops her aesthetic each season whilst still staying true to herself and brand identity.

As a CSM graduate, do you have any advice for other fashion students?
I think the most important thing is to be open-minded to change! Begin your degree with the approach that you are the to develop and learn - listen to and absorb as much information, advice, tips etc. as possible and really see your time on a degree as a chance to experiment, take chances and most importantly make mistakes! It’s all part of the process of finding out who you are as a designer and what makes you different to your peers and other designers.

I believe what makes Nicomede special are not the collaboration with Eastpak or the jewellery collection or even working for Lanvin, Philip Lim and Katie Eary before. I believe Nicomede have very good branding skills which is very different to other design students. I won't disagree that his collection is totally amazing but what makes the collection unforgettable for me is the lining. He uses his logo as a pattern for the lining of all his jackets which is a really good way to make the visitors remember you!!!!

And I really want to say his Jewellery drives me crazy!! I really want to own them!!!

I know that Nicomede is going to begin his MA course in the coming Autumn. I really look forward to his MA collection!!

Special Thanks Jack Cassidy from Nicomede Talavera

To know more about Nicomede or check more photos of the Eastpak collection, please visit his webiste

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