Fresh-faced fashion designer interviewed
Designer Profile - Craig Lawrence

Craig Lawrence is a fresh-faced, fresh talent; an unassuming twenty-five-year-old who has achievements well surpassing his age. 

Tilda Swinton has to be the woman that every designer wants to dress. She is certainly the flavour of the month within the couture circles and luxury fashion fodder. She is the right balance of beautiful and strange, her gaunt face and long limbs make her the perfect model for contemporary designs and she now has the power to make everything she wears iconic.

Craig Lawrence has experienced the strength of this powerful force when Tilda appeared on the cover of Another Magazine in one of his signature dresses. The piece now stands in the Museum of London, with an everlasting place in fashion history.

If you are still not impressed, you are about to be. What makes this so out of the ordinary is that Craig hand-knitted the piece. Lawrence, a shy young lad from Ipswich, has taken the hobby and pastime of grannies and made it a modern designer feat. From hand-knitted elegant floor-length gowns to knitted tops with oversized sleeves that look almost like seaweed floating underwater, Criag’s designs look like they have a mind of their own and are a world away from cardigans and sweaters.

“When I was on holiday visiting my Nan in Scotland she’d be watching daytime TV and I would be knitting,” Craig remembers. “She taught me how to hand knit. The first thing I knitted started off as a scarf and it just got wider and wider and wider, so it was this big square thing.”

From far from glamorous beginnings, the designer’s now refined and seamless skills are praised by the fashion press and adorned by the fashionable. In addition to Tilda Swinton some on the world’s most style conscious musicians have chosen to wear Craig Lawrence.

Craig had always been a huge fan of Björk, and she wore an archive catsuit from his Central Saint Martin’s degree show at the Prize Polar Ceremony. He had always had the singer in mind when designing the collection and it was a life goal to get her in his designs. He never expected it to happen, never mind to happen so soon into his career. 

It now seems a new dramatic musical icon has stolen his heart. Lady Gaga has made her love of Craig very public. She caused a pap frenzy when she went out in his long gold body con dress that made her look like a futuristic goddess protected by liquid gold.

The duo appeared on MTV show Playground, chatting about what it is to be a designer and make a statement. As Gaga sat down in her usually headline-grabbing attire, a very sweet and humble looking Craig sat opposite - the pair both known for putting an aesthetic out there that is totally against the grain.

She asked, “Do you have a fascination with drama?” He replied: “I think I am dramatic on the inside.”

“I like working with performance artists,” Craig tells Clash. “Working with them fed my Autumn Winter collection. I did a gold bolero for Skin from Skunk Anansie. She wanted something like my SS10 with the barrier tape but they wanted it in gold and shiny foil, so I did it and she loved it. There is a slight madness behind her eyes, she’s exciting.”

He has recently launched an exclusive range at Soho’s taste-making boutique and new fashion showroom Machine A. Clash had the pleasure of attending.

“Ella and Stavros at the store always liked my stuff and wanted to stock me. I really like what they’re doing - they seem like a young brave shop, and they have something that had been missing in London.” 

Craig was similarly excited at the prospect of a DJ set from The Teeth at the showroom that night. “I’, listening to them at the moment, and The xx. I don’t know if I’m that cultured in musicl I tend to listen to hairbrush divas, Girls Aloud and Mariah Carey. I sing along whilst I’m knitting.” 

For his latest collection Craig continues to work with the same techniques of metallic two-tone colourings and uses a yarn called Kyototex, which he sourced from a Japanese textile company at a knitting trade show. Yes, a knitting trade show!

“The collection has been toned down a little for the London girl,” says Lawrence. “There are gloves, leggings, crop tops and sleeves as separate pieces making the collection more wearable and accessible.”

The obvious influence on the collection is the ’90s and grunge chic.

“It would totally suit someone like Christina Ricci or Chloe Sevigny,” Craig enthuses. “Somebody fierce like that. They would be amazing.”

However, away from such Hollywood elite, Craig is taking inspiration from something far more mundane: the British seaside.

“Great Yarmouth, Felixstowe and Blackpool. Those places are amazing!” he beams.

From the bright lights to Blackpool’s illuminations, this new talent is shining bright.

Words by Rose Forde 


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