We spoke to the male Carrie Bradshaw about his ongoing championing of emerging talent and return as a judge to the prestigious Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize...
Words: Olivia Phillips
If you've yet to hear about Derek Blasberg then we guarantee you'll not only be a fan, but probably be following him on Twitter by the end of reading this piece. New York Times best-selling author, columnist, friend to many (many) a fashionista and devastatingly well dressed man-about-town, Derek knows a thing or two about spotting a star.
It makes perfect sense, then, for him to be on the panel of the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize once again, alongside other such fashion high-flyers like Tank Magazine's Fashion Director Caroline Issa. It's an accolade which flags up tomorrow's design superstars, providing the winner with £25,000 towards their business, as well as one-to-one mentoring from some of the judges.
The finalists (Huishan Zhang, Barbara Casasola, Fyodor Golan and Emilia Wickstead) will stage their collections in a catwalk showcase on Tuesday at London’s iconic Dorchester where Derek will be among the judges. We spoke to him about his gems of advice, what you really need to make it these days and, on a totally unrelated but equally as important note, where to get the best burgers in New York…
You're such a champion of emerging talent - why do you think it's critical for the industry?
Fashion is an industry that thrives on talent. New ideas, new faces, new techniques, new everything! But for as much as we celebrate new voices, it can sometimes be hard to find them. Fashion is possibly one of the hardest industries to break into, which is why it is so important to foster new talent and make sure the cream rises to the top! When Dorchester Collection came to me with the same motives, I was excited to work with them. They bring aspiring talent to the forefront of the fashion scene.
What do you think you need as a new designer to make it these days?
Original flare, a raw and eye catching talent which makes them stand out from the crowd and, above all, integrity and determination to succeed in a highly pressurised environment. And in these modern times a designer also needs to have a complete understanding of how this industry works. That means fabric research, production, sustainability, price points, retail. Fashion today is a global machine, it's not just making something pretty. That's what will allow someone with talent to become a success.
What pieces of advice would you pass on to someone trying to make it in the industry? And what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
I would tell them to do their research. Learn the entire process of design. Know how to sketch, how to sew, how to research a collection. Always look around for inspiration: In films, in art, in newspapers, in blogs, in your mum's closet. Know how people shop. Read the business section of the newspaper once in a while.
Finally, you’re a real fashion face in New York… what are your tips for navigating the city?
My favourite thing about New York City is that there's something to do for every mood. Feeling sporty? Go kayaking on the Hudson River. Feeling social? New York is full of some of the best bars and clubs in the entire world. Looking for something healthy to eat? Souen is a great vegan restaurant on Sixth Avenue, and I love the kale salad at Tiny's in Tribeca. Or looking for something unhealthy to eat? I love the milk shakes at Shake Shack in Battery Park City, and the cheeseburger at Lucky Strike on Grand Street is to die for. (It's smothered in cheddar and served on an English muffin.) There are sporting events and parks and bike paths and Barney's and Bergdorf's. And when you're tired of it all, do what I do: Go to the Battery Park cinema on your own.