Earlier this week, we gave you a preview of the Baracuta Blue Label Fall/Winter 2014 collection. Having newly appointed designer Jeff Griffin as the new creative director, the brand takes a step back closer to their British heritage with more focused manufacturing and design. Griffin speaks with us on the significance of British menswear, who the Baracuta customer is, and how he’ll lead the brand differently than former director, Kenichi Kusano. Read our full Q&A after the jump and be sure to check out our exclusive first look at their Fall/Winter 2014 campaign video, The Journey, which gives a behind-the-scenes peek at his design process.
How do you feel about being appointed Blue Label’s new creative director?
Life is a journey and this is part of the journey. It’s always great to meet people, listen to their stories and look in from the outside. My craft is menswear and working with other companies gives you a freedom to explore ideas. How great is that?!
How, if at all, will the Blue Label change from Kenichi Kusano‘s directorship? Kusano began his designs from the fabrics — Is there a difference in how you approach your designs?
Kenny is Japanese so of course we will see things differently, but we both have a love for similar ideas, craftsmanship, quality and design. I loved what Kenny did with the G4 and G9, but my brief was different. It was to give a British feel to the brand as well as modernizing the heritage [and] creating new icons for the future, all with a Griffin taste. Myself and Baracuta started with fabrics. This is where the journey started: Isle of Lewis in Scotland for Harris Tweed, traveling to Huddersfield for Butterworth & Roberts, a fantastic mill.
You mention the importance of British manufacturing — How does British menswear differ from others?
British manufacturing is important, and very importantly, doesn’t like change. This is why we have some great classics; The Land Rover Defender for example, the Mini, the Trench coat, the Mackintosh, the Waxed Jacket. Why are we good at menswear? Perhaps our rich history or weather, which has a huge influence. The fantastic art colleges, most of which have a creative way of teaching; John Galliano was a teacher of mine and Paul Smith. You can’t get better than that!
Who did you have in mind for Fall/Winter 2014? What is the kind of lifestyle you envision for your customers?
Our design studio is based in a farm on the Cornwall Devon boarder close to the edge of a cliff on the Atlantic coastline. Very dramatic! A million miles from the streets of Hoxton, but it gives me peace. I feel I know the Baracuta customer well: He visits Cornwall and sometimes stays with us in our own campsite or the Geo Dome eco retreat; He comes from the city, sometimes in a VW van; Some surf, some climb, some cycle; They are all ages but always young in mind; Some have even been bankers, some love Northern Soul. They come from everywhere. They love original things, they love transparency. Sometimes they can put up a tent, sometimes not.
What is your favorite piece/style in the collection and why?
I love the mix. It’s like baking a good cake: A bit of Baracuta, a bit of Heritage Tweed, a touch of military, and a lot of love. It’s only nine styles and I like them all.
Look for the Baracuta Blue Label Fall/Winter 2014 collection when they hit stores this September.