Up until recently Iranian-French designer Pierre Garroudi operated from a gallery space nestled under a railway archway in London Bridge in which he designed his clothes, hosted events and showcased other artists work in addition to many of his own canvases.
But not anymore. Pierre Garroudi decided to relocate back to New York after several failed applications to the British Fashion Council for an ‘On Schedule’ London Fashion Week runway show.
Garroudi’s signature style is unique. He features intricate and pioneering fabric-folding work, all done by hand, which creates a fabulous origami effect.
He’s known for using interesting and diverse models, which is a breath of fresh air in an industry which so often uses just one type of model.
“In general I do tell my casting people that I’d like a diverse group of models”, he begins. “I think that it’s generally better to have a mixed selection of model. We live in a world that’s mixed, I mean half of the world are Asian, and only, maybe twenty percent of the world are white.”
In the year that has passed since I chatted with the designer, he’s been up to rather a lot. A fashion editorial for Unfolded Magazine, a second for Kurv and a, two flash mob fashion shows in central London and planning the big move to NYC.
“In the UK you can only go up to a certain level and after that there’s a ceiling of invisible glass. I’m glad that I had that experience”, he continues.
Pierre Garroudi and I talked a few things over next to the lions in Trafalgar Square.
Almaz: For how many years were in your studio?
Pierre Garroudi: For 7 years.
Almaz: And in that time were you doing the block colour all the time?
Pierre Garroudi: The first collections that I did in London were based on recycled materials. The clothes were either vintage or a mixture of both old and new donated pieces, re-designed and then transformed into something totally different. But I thought that ‘if I’m going to keep on with this recycling of fabric, I’m not going to open any doors’.
Almaz: So you switched to the fabric folding techniques in block colour.
Pierre Garroudi: Yes it’s very time consuming.
Almaz: At your A/W 11/12 show in February had you already made the decision to move to New York?
Pierre Garroudi: No, but after that I applied to the British Fashion Council again for an On Schedule show. When the decision was made that I wasn’t going to get an on schedule spot, which prompted me to finally make the decision. Back in 2008 we saw the financial crisis. Now Europe is in trouble so I thought that it be best to stop wasting my money here and go to New York.
Almaz: Have you found that the fashion industry in the UK has been affected very much by the crisis?
Pierre Garroudi: Well it’s a bit of a scam in this country as you have to hire a PR company. And if you don’t sign to a PR company the British Fashion Council will not accept you.
London is a lot less important than New York and yet they show you attitude. They only really promote the younger generation, who are mainly British.
Almaz: But while you’ve been in London you’ve kept the New York office.
Pierre Garroudi: Yes. One element of the fashion industry is that you have to do mass production and New York is a great place to begin with mass production.
Almaz: Are you working on a collection at the moment?
Pierre Garroudi: No, I’m doing research. Reading up about the business and marketing side of fashion. These days you need to be on all of the social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In. Besides that you have to make your lookbook and go out with a model on your arm to network at parties.
Almaz: Are you going to continue with your fabric folding technique?
Pierre Garroudi: Yes, I going to keep going with that, it’s unique. It’s very time consuming and expensive.
Almaz: Have you got any colour in mind?
Pierre Garroudi: Dusky-pink I think that my next show will be in a year’s time in New York. I might have a fashion exhibition at a gallery. I used to know a lot of people in New York, so I have to let them all that all that I’m on my way back.
I think that everything happens for a reason. Anything good or bad, it teaches you a lesson. Once you learn the lesson then you move forward. You’re not the same person anymore, you become stronger.