Maurice Whittingham is turning the tide. While the designer has been a figure in the industry for fifteen years, only this year has he decided to launch his eponymous label, giving its first collection the name “After all the blues…” The collection offers gender-fluid pieces in rich blues and blacks, exhibiting Whittingham’s classic influence while making a statement all its own.
While Whittingham’s interests extend far beyond fashion design, fashion is now where the designer has made his home. His work up until recently focused solely on making bespoke pieces for individuals; today, he’s proud to release his works to the wider public. Here, Schön! speaks to Whittingham about his journey through the world of design, including his history and the story behind the accompanying photoshoot, captured by photographer Mauro Pellegrini.
You’ve been a designer for a long time. Why was now the right time to launch your own label?
I’ve been making bespoke pieces for a niche of people and personalities over the past fifteen years and I believe now is the right time to open our doors to a bigger audience. We have been developing the “After All The Blues” collection for over a year and now I feel that all the precision of details embodies the essence of the Maurice Whittingham brand.
What originally ignited your passion for design?
As a child, my household was an abundance of colours, textures and fabrics; I realised that these were the main ingredients that fuelled my passion in fashion. Not knowing at this tender age that my mother was also another main inspiration, especially as she was an accomplished seamstress, this definitely had a huge impact on the way I grew up and my future in designing.
Why did you decide to make gender fluidity central to the brand?
Since I’ve started making clothes, both men and women have been wearing my designs, and for me both menswear and womenswear are a big source of inspiration. So why not fulfil this appetite for gender-neutral clothing? When I look at society and the diversity within cultures and genders, it seemed a very natural progression. Now more than ever we have the freedom to express our style and personality through what we wear.
Your work blends fashion with history and spirituality. How do those latter two ideas — history and spirituality — impact the way you design?
History shows that spirituality and fashion have always had an underlying relationship. Looking back through history at shapes and designs, from regency to military to punk and all that encapsulates in-between, I find historical designs fascinating and inspiring. Spirituality, self-development, self-awareness — however we want to call it — I think it is an amazing tool that connects you with yourself; it enhances and opens the mind. What I do brings peace and confidence from within and enables me to express a sense of freedom when I create. Moreover, I think there is a belief, especially with fashion in social media, that the industry and those within it are superficial, materialistic, and set on the wrong principles. I believe that what we need to address is the importance of how combining spiritual materials in the fashion world can improve our soul, along with our mind, including cultivating positive thoughts.
“After all the blues… Let the journey begin!” is certainly an intriguing title. Why did you settle on this name for your first collection as a label?
“After All the Blues” was inspired whilst travelling in Barcelona, observing the sea and the sky, noticing the changes of depth during the day and night, how the colours reflect and gave me a full spectrum of blues. The beauty of nature can be motivating and inspiring within itself, and I wanted to use this memory as something more, something I could share with others by creating pieces of the time when I saw more than just nature.
What is the story you wanted to tell with this photoshoot, and how does it reflect the brand?
For this campaign, I’ve been working closely with the Art Director Mauro Pellegrini. “After all the blues… Let the journey begin!” was something we wanted to create which focused on highlighting the importance of the journey, any personal journey, and who you share it with. We believe this is what defines you more than where you will arrive. It reflects the brand, as we’ve just begun our journey, but more importantly it embraces our values.
How did you plan the narrative for both this shoot and the accompanying campaign films?
The “After all the Blues…” campaign portrays two solitary characters tracking each other across an otherworldly natural landscape wearing our new collection. The narrative wants to blend the feeling of someone looking for himself during his own journey and the willing of finding someone else to share the journey with. As a brand we aim to be that friend that supports you and makes you feel comfortable in embracing yourself.
What is your vision of a “Maurice Whittingham” wearer?
Confident, distinctive, indulgent, stylish with a dash of flamboyancy.
What does the future have in store for Maurice Whittingham?
We are opening our first store and headquarters in Birmingham in December, where we will continue to showcase the brand and create our pieces along with our bespoke services. For the future we aim to grow the Maurice Whittingham label and have it become internationally recognised as a sustainable luxury brand. In the meantime, I wish to continue mentoring students, as this gives me great pleasure and satisfaction. Knowing how much I admire this part of my work, there is the idea to open a creative hub which gives young minds a space to express their emotions through creativity and fashion.
Maurice Whittingham’s debut collection is available online at mauricewhittingham.com. From November 2019, the collection will also be available in-store at The Cherrymoon, 366-368 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UZ.
production. Saint Loupe™
art direction + photography. Mauro Pellegrini
brand. Maurice Whittingham
models. Akeem Adams + Sam Simmonds
hair + make up. Kelly Taylor
camera operations. Vlad Costache + Alessio Caglioni
drone operation. Alessio Caglioni
video editing. Vlad Costache
logistics. Olmo Ronzoni + Steve Blackstone
music. Lincoln Grounds (PRS) + Bob Bradley (PRS)
fashion assistant. Shaun Gordon
crew assistant. Thomas Compton
location. Parys Mountain, Amlwch, Anglesey, Wales