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James Long on his Capsule Knitwear Collection for Topman

British designer James Long has been on a roll lately with a successful stint at Virginia Bates

British designer James Long has been on a roll lately with a successful stint at Virginia Bates followed by the launch of his own label. Best known for his innovative work with leather and knitwear, the designer has managed to make chunky knitwear both stylish and refined. The designer recently teamed up with British retailer Topman on a capsule collection that borrows heavily from the aesthetics of his eponymous line. Inspired by punk and rock icons such as Kurt Cobain and Keith Richards, the capsule collection features modern twists of classic materials and silhouettes, all crafted in Britain. Dazed Digital recently caught up with the designer to discuss the collection and the inspiration behind the looks.

What was the idea behind it all?
I wanted to create a collection of knitwear that referenced all the techniques that are familiar with my own designs. It was inspired by all my favourite jumper-wearing men – Kurt Cobain, Keith Richards, The Sex Pistols…

With knitwear there is so much room for contrasting the traditional with the modern…
I do think knitwear is great for creating amazing colour combinations and making something new and modern. In the collection there are some new spins on classics like the engineered Aran, and everything was made in Britain which equals amazing quality.

What music were you listening to whilst designing the collection?
‘Studio Music’ by Rose Blake. I was also listening to a lot of Pulp.

Who are your knitwear icons?
Nancy Spungen, Kurt Cobain and Blur.

Since debuting at the MAN show, you’ve become part of a cluster of local labels that have really taken off, going on to introduce womenswear too. How does it feel to be part of that community?
I love that the menswear scene has grown so much – it’s great. It’s crazy that there was just that one-man show when I debuted and now there’s a whole week dedicated to menswear, with designers selling internationally.

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