Designer Spotlight: Lou Dalton

Designer Spotlight: Lou Dalton

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up And Coming Designers To Know Now. Up Next: Lou Dalton

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up And Coming Designers To Know Now. Up Next: Lou Dalton

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Fashion tends to push the envelope rather than use sensibility to seal it. The fear of banality has designers frantically searching for ways to differentiate themselves and shock their audiences, turning catwalks into parades celebrating impractical fashions. Enter Lou Dalton, the menswear visionary whose focus is purely chic pragmatism. Hailing from Shetland, Scotland, Dalton uses the men in her life—her fiancé, brother, and father—to create clothes reminiscent of her region’s hikers, fishermen and farmhands. Her Spring/Summer 2017 collection featured tracksuits, thick knitwear, and showerproof velour coats in a series of slightly disparate colors, like blood orange to contrast sandy-colored neutrals. Dalton’s work is a unique and imaginative take on Normcore, harping on the designer’s rural background for a distinct differentiation. We spoke to the emerging talent about her love of Prada, the men in her life, and her humble upbringing.

Why did you choose to do men's apparel?

I left school at 16 to take up a role‎ as an apprentice at a Bespoke Tailors. The majority of what we produced was menswear, [like] making shooting breeches for Purdey and Sons. So from an early age, menswear was what I was familiar with, exposed to, and something I became obsessed with.

What was the world of fashion like when you first moved to London? Or how did it appear to you?

Moving away from a small town in Shropshire to a city like London was incredibly exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. I was studying at the Royal College of Art at the time and we use to make a beeline for Harvey Nichols. It all felt incredible clean and streamlined—quite Brett Easton Ellis with a bit of Helmut Lang thrown in for good measure.

And how has fashion changed since you first moved to London?

From more formal to more informal, fashion feels a lot more relaxed and casual now; [there’s] a sense of ease.

Who inspires your clothing and why?

The men in my life, whether that be the stylist I work with, Julian Ganio, my fiancé Justin Haigh, or my father. Each is courageous and confident within themselves, and although my father is now incredibly conservative within his attire, he was for many years a Teddy Boy.

What advice would you give to someone who says that they want to work in fashion? 

Gain as much experience as possible to allow you a complete overview of what is involved. Fashion is not for the lighthearted; long hours for very little in return is often the order of the day.

What's your go-to summer outfit?

For myself, a navy Comme des Garçons t-shirt, Marni sandals and a Lou Dalton indigo blue exposed pocket short. For the Lou Dalton Man, performance shorts in a prince ‎of Wales check worn with an oversized, bellows pocket t-shirt.

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

Yes, always. I have a playlist that I keep adding to. I'm a sucker f‎or anything euphoric—of late, anything by John Hopkins, Underworld, The Fall, and Factory Records.

Do you foresee yourself venturing into womenswear again?

No. I have so much more to develop within the menswear collection, so this really is my focus. I produced a very small and concise range of womenswear shirts for a Japanese client as a one off, but I have no intentions of doing it again.

If you weren't designing clothing, what would you be doing?

Living in either Shetland or Settle and trying my hand at upholstery.

Do you have a favorite look from a time in pop culture history?

I was kind of obsessed with the Prada campaign in 1996 featuring William Dafoe, Tim Roth, etc. [It was] a campaign she chose to revisit a few seasons later in 2012. It's known that I am obsessed with a narrative—something I think Prada does so, so well.

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