Jeremy Laing is a Canadian-based fashion designer, who works out of a studio based in Parkdale, Toronto. Celebrated for his expert tailoring, he is a master of creating layered silhouettes with incredible movement — his designs ebb and flow off the body as if they were practically their own living organism. As he continues to incorporate and experiment with new hybrids of dyed fabrics, introducing an artist-commissioned textile pattern every season, we caught up with him recently as he prepared for his SS14 collection for New York Fashion Week — presenting a collection of candy kid colorways, summer rave aesthetics and a new shoe collaboration with LD Tuttle.
What was your inspiration for this season's collection?
Well, sidewalk chalk is where the palette comes from, along other idyllic summer childhood things, like Tiger Tail ice cream, for instance. But it's all about this kind of surf-y, Malibu palette. Chill summer vibes. Like an afternoon lake-side rave. Or a summer party.
Everything seems really relaxed in here. What stage are you at in terms of getting ready?
Well, we're past fittings now — we just fit our one last dress today. We have to be done pretty far in advance, because we send out some of the garments, after their designed, to be dyed — and so in terms of that timeline we have to be really organized. It's all about being ahead of ourselves and really trying to work hard in advance.
And you made a line of shoes for the first time, what was that like?
We did shoes with LD Tuttle for the first time — a lot of carved wooden soles, hand-painted, with combination matching materials. It was pure object, it was really sculptural in the approach to it — because a shoe is something that's propped up on its own, as opposed to a garment, that hangs down, you know? You can kind of design it without a body, they're objects unto themselves. With apparel, I guess you could ignore the body, and some people do, but for me that's more of a specifically-tied process. That's more of a living, breathing, animate idea.
Did you design the shoes here as well?
Yeah, I designed them here. And all the pattern and development stuff happens here. Here's all the fabrics for the collection — one is a patterned fabric we did with Julia Dault, a Canadian artist who is having a really great moment with her art. And this other pattern is from this mill we work with out in Italy. And then there's all the fabrics that are dyed. Everything comes in sort of a grayish color, and we sew them up this way, and we'll sometimes leave them white, or we'll send them out to be dyed. You can see these fabrics have sort of a saturated quality, but with a bit of powderiness, like chalk.
Are there any pieces in the collection that speak to a sort of 'signature' you create every collection?
Well, in terms of garment dyes, the washed robes — we've been doing that for awhile. I think the tea-shaped dress is sort of signature. Probably the big trench. There are some signature selects. We're doing tee shirt jersey dresses, with bright slips under the bottom. A lot of pieces have open layers, with slips underneath.
You're also introducing menswear for the first time this collection.
We're doing menswear — or men's sizes. I mean, I was always doing a big weird trench, and technically it's womenswear. But I mean, who says? So, we have guys in this show, and we have guy sizes — or more sizes, for me.