Meet James Millar: Liberty London Menswear Designer
Meet James Millar - a gentleman immersed in Liberty Print these days. He’s also the man responsible for turning the geometric and paisley patterns from our archive into our latest Liberty London menswear collection for SS13.
During London Collections: Men in June, we showcased James’ work to international press and buyers at a presentation in our Heritage Suite. Read our interview with James below to find out more about the collection, and which pieces you’ll find hanging in his wardrobe next season.
How did you get into menswear design and started working for Liberty?
I originally joined Liberty as Head of Scarves and as part of that I was designing ties and scarves for men. There were so many possibilities to use the prints…so my role now includes designing the shirt line and any other additions going forward.
I studied textile design at Glasgow School of Art and went on to do a Masters in Fashion at Central St Martins, so my fashion work has always been very focused on textiles. In the past I’ve worked for Jonathan Saunders both on his own line and Pollini (whilst he was Creative Director there). I worked freelance and did some print work for Loewe ready to wear, and sold work through a design studio to various labels like DKNY, DVF and Valentino. I freelanced for Liberty last year designing the limited edition Olympic and jubilee scarves that you’ll find in store now, and joined the team permanently in January.
This is your first full collection for Liberty – how is it designing for a heritage brand?
It’s great to have such an amazing archive and history in print. The challenge is making that relevant to the modern fashion consumer.
What is the inspiration behind the collection for SS13, and how Liberty Print has been reworked for the season?
There is no single overall theme to the collection. We looked a lot at Victorian decoration and the obsession of that era with foreign cultures: Arabic, Greek, Indian, Chinese etc. We also introduced some new prints from the archive and updated some classics by turning them into checks or combining with spots.
The focus was on introducing more craftsmanship into the collection. On ties we introduced the idea of the tip being a different colour way of the same print or a different scale of the same print to make them a bit more special. We’ve also introduced a new fit on the shirts and a new style to broaden the appeal of them. Colour was important and artist Gary Hume was a big inspiration for this collection. His use of colour is still very modern and unexpected.
What sort of man would wear the SS13 Liberty London collection?
I think the collection has something for everyone, from the more classic styles through to something utterly contemporary.
Which pieces will be found hanging in your own wardrobe?
The majority of the short sleeved shirts are right up my street and I love all the scarves too. My favourite prints are Juno (peacock feather print), Criss-cross, Bourton check and Eastwood spot.
Do you already have ideas for AW13? Can you let us in on any design secrets?
I’m still really into paisleys at the moment but who knows what will happen in a month's time when I start the new collection. Hopefully we will be including some new product categories too!
Be sure to visit us in store in November when the collection will land in our Menswear department.
Can’t wait? Shop our current selection on menswear online here