Perched on a bollard at the end of a Parisian no-through road, London-based menswear designer Craig Green tells it like it is. Fashion may not be in his blood, but the Central St Martins prodigy has churned out the 10th in a string of award-winning collections, winning high praise within a close-knit industry. So what - or who - is responsible for his continued success?
No man is an island entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main;
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
- What is your understanding of “No man is an island”?
Fashion in particular as an industry is never a one-man operation. You need a team around you. I guess every industry is like that to a certain extent, but for example in art, you rely on yourself to paint and make things - you can be quite self-sufficient but in fashion you need a team. I’m always very vocal and thankful of the people that work and collaborate with me because without them I wouldn’t be able to do it.
- Who was the first person whose style had an impact on you?
I don’t really know because I was never really a fashion-focused kid or teenager. I don’t think I had ever read a fashion magazine until I went to college at the age of 20. My Dad’s a plumber, my Mum’s a nurse and all my uncles are ‘works’ people. Originally I wanted to be a portrait painter, but I was swayed into fashion. I never really had a style obsession, I probably had terrible style, and I probably still have terrible style. It was just something I wasn’t really interested in; I came from a different place.
- At what point did you think ‘fashion is for me’?
I was attracted to the fast pace and the energy around it, especially when you go to see somewhere like St Martins. I started with fine art but it was very different. People wouldn’t come in for weeks, they would be working on one piece for a whole year. I felt the energy as quite slow in comparison and not as community-based and I’m a very ‘community-ish’ person. Everyone was there all day, all night. We really bonded friendships and relationships whilst working really hard and there was something about that that I was really attracted to.
- Pre-fashion, the people that you had around you, how do they feel now about your career?
My family has always been supportive. Although I don’t think that they fully understood for years why I was doing it. I was the first person that went to university out of any of my cousins, and when I was going to study art they asked. I don’t think they could really gauge what I was doing until they saw Rihanna wearing it. Even when we got in to Dover Street Market, I was so excited, but Mum thought it was an actual market not a high-end store. It’s just not in their realm! But they’re supportive, it’s nice.
- Is there anyone you rely upon on a day-to-day basis?
I rely on all of my team massively. My two core people are my partner Angelos [Tsourapas] who looks after the business side, and Helen [Price]. So it’s my best friend and my boyfriend. Now we are a team of almost eight now. It’s really like a family. Everyone else who has worked with us is an ex-intern that has stayed on. So it’s very close-knit, especially when you spend 12-14 hours a day seven days a week together. You have to like each other or else there’s going to be fireworks. I rely on them massively.
- Who was the last person who made you stop and think?
I don’t know - that’s a really difficult question. You?