The Fashion Folk S01 ep14 : Guvinda, Guvinda Fashion, [London]
Interview with Guvinda
I wrote a letter to McQueen and showed my portfolio, he said to me "When do you want to start?" I said "I'll start tomorrow". Literally the next day, I was on the same shift, 15 hours a day.
KM: What is Guvinda?
We had a look in the early bible work and it actually meant Son of God, so you
know it is just one of those coincidences really, and like I said he was a damn
good looking guy.
KM: Why Fashion.
When I was young, when I was 14, 15 I didn't look at today's fashion, I always
looked in the past - I'd look at Madeline Vionnet, Paul Poiret, you know
Christian Dior ..
KM: What did you see when you looked?
Passion, passion, passion.
I went to do a ? in Light and Design at Cambridge and my lecturer said
"Guvinda, if you just shut your mouth and stopped talking about fashion and
actually did what you talked about, you'll be an incredible designer".
I realised that I needed to draw properly; I needed to know about draping, and
what I did I went to anthropology and archaeology museum. After college at
Cambridge I was in there from 7 o'clock to half 9. They used to kick me out
every night and you should see the drawings I came out with. I can draw what
I can see, because you know I have just realised that in order for me to create
something on paper I need to know how to draw. In order for me to create a
garment I need to know how to pattern cut and sew. In order for me to know
how to bead, embroider and print on a garment I need to do it myself. This is
why I have trained in all of this because now I can actually create.
I had a mannequin, I was draping on a mannequin, I was pattern cutting on
that side of the room, I was painting on here, I was drawing here, and over
here I was reading a book on "Sorbasin". Sorbasin is an Indian artist, and he
painted the gods. When I got bored I went over there and started painting,
when I got bored I went over there and started pattern cutting, when I got
bored with that I started tailoring over here and I start sewing buttons on this.
KM: Multi tasking.
When I was 18 I was designing for a couture house in Germany called "Donna
Viva" because my sister worked in Germany and I went there and I was
bored. I had a portfolio with me, with me went down the road, went to "Donna
Viva" showed the portfolio, they really like it. there I was taught how to sew
buttons on properly how to the fastenings in, and suddenly the designer was ill,
and they really like my designs and a lady came in and
KM: Slow down
A lady came in head to toe in Chanel, they asked me to design and I designed
some outfits and then literally three weeks later she walked out with my outfit
on and she had a butler carrying the other outfit. I realised how happy I made
her and I felt it was a privilege to actually make other people happy, because I
gelt like a magician.
In order to turn a dream into reality you need to know who to form that .. you
know from a 2D image into a 3D form and this was sparked off by what I learnt
at Donna Viva. Donna Viva the lady there said, 'go and get a fashion
magazines' so I went and got one and she said "I want you to pattern cut a
jacket now", she said "I am going to give you until the end of the day to pattern
cut that jacket. I want to see that on that mannequin. And that was my training.
I thought ‘oh my God what is going on here', but I did it.
When I read about these expressionist painters I realised you know, they did
not do these blurred images because they couldn't draw, they could draw
beautifully and then from drawing beautifully they knew how to distort in order
to create their inner most feelings. This is what I felt, in order to create my
expression, in order to create my dream, I need to know the fundamentals of
pattern cutting, otherwise how can I create it.
So I need to be an expert in all the fields. So when I was at Royal College of
Fashion I did the embroidery, and I did the pattern cutting then I joined the
third year at St Martins. I showed my... I wrote a letter to McQueen and
showed my portfolio, he said to me when do you want to start. I
said I'll start tomorrow.
KM: Who sorry
And so when do you want to start, well I'll start tomorrow. Literally the next
day, I was on the same shift, 15 hours a day.
KM: When were you working for McQueen
This is the third year of St.Martin’s. I was probably about 20 years old.
KM: How long ago was this.
God, I am 27 now, so about 7 years ago.
KM: What was McQueen doing back then.
He was doing… doing the work for Givenchy. For him, you know I sewed
maybe about 4 or 5 dresses: I actually made some fabric and from that fabric I
cut a pattern of the coat and I sewed up the coat.
KM: So what was he asking you to do.
Finish pieces off, sew up dresses, hand cut a few tops. You know I also for
example .. it was a jungle collection and he said, Guvinda I want you to make a
coat. I said o.k. give me the fabric so he just threw leathers at me, and I
patched worked the whole fabric and that took me I'd say about 2 days. I
spoke to people and they said that was the most beautiful piece, it really
showed the beauty of his collection.
Well I am a huge tennis fan, I used to be a very good tennis player and I
realised that people like Tim Henman he is very good. But you only realise how
good he was when he practiced against Pete Sampras and he realised that
Pete Sampras was a normal bloke. I realised that when I was with Mc Queen,
he is actually a normal guy. I realised that if he made it, why can't I.
Before McQueen yes I did work for him, but it was my decision not to carry on.
It was my decision to work then for hopefully Julian McDonald, which I did, it
was... and obviously show my work for Lacroix.
KM: What did you do for Julian.
I printed dresses, beaded. I beaded the dress that Naomi Campbell wore for
his first collection. It was full of chandelier crystals.
I want to be seen as a serious designer. I don't want to be seen as a
gimmicky, I don't want to be seen... yes I have been fortunate to work for
these great designers, but I want to be on par with them, I want to be
competitive with them as well.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Guvinda, Guvinda Fashion, London