James Long on Revolutionizing High-Fashion Sportswear

James Long on Revolutionizing High-Fashion Sportswear

James Long on Revolutionizing High-Fashion Sportswear

"Designing is a conversation with your team and sometimes the mistakes are the beauty," says the creative director of Iceberg.

"Designing is a conversation with your team and sometimes the mistakes are the beauty," says the creative director of Iceberg.

Text: Dylan Kelly

For designer James Long, creative jurisdiction is a boundless craft. Hailing from an artistically inclined family, the visionary was encouraged to explore all facets of his imagination from an early age, a process of curation that turned out to be well worth it. Now the creative director of fashion label Iceberg, Long puts his design abilities to work on an international scale, releasing a full ready-to-wear collection for both men and women each season. 

Grasping his signature touch while studying at the Royal College of Art, Long’s elevated design techniques and sport-infused tailoring boast a supreme level of educated craftsmanship. His ideas blossom from conversations with colleagues before manifesting on the pages of his sketchbook, a creative process that stimulates trial and error where sometimes the error is actually the success. Over his years of experience, Long’s evolving identity spills out through his archives as he instills a part of himself into each collection. 

Most recently, the prestigious designer debuted a Fall/Winter 2020 collection during Milan Fashion Week, a spectacle which proved Long’s high-fashion artistry superior. The range follows an elegant colorscape, beginning with black-and-white combinations atop oversized sweaters and long-sleeved dresses, then moving into monochrome green, pink, and red statement looks, and closing with familiar black-and-white silhouettes across altered ensembles. Organic patterns find their way onto matching knitwear variations, while show-stopping accessories complete each assemblage. It’s an eclectic collection that successfully breeds an edgy sportswear aesthetic with a blend of diversified fabrics, a combination so unique to Long’s artistic abilities. 

V spoke with Iceberg’s lead visionary about his creative process, his personal identity, and his beginnings in fashion. 

Read what James Long had to share below.

V How did you first discover your passion for fashion design and how did you initially turn that passion into the reality of a full time career?

James Long I was lucky I had a very creative family who encouraged me creatively, then at school my art teachers really nurtured me. My aunt is an artist and she recently told me she loved painting with me when I was small as I was so free and had no boundaries. I got my master’s at the Royal College of Art where again I was fully immersed in fashion design. Lulu Kennedy at Fashion East then gave me a platform to show my collections at London Fashion Week men’s. Lulu is incredibly nurturing. To turn your passion into a career takes a lot of help from family and loved ones because it’s quite difficult to do it on your own. Your loved ones are the people who encourage you and support your passion in my opinion.

V How were you able to differentiate yourself and stand out among the dense competition of hopefuls trying to become successful designers?

JL I don't know really; I just did and do what I always do. I think I was always up for it and loved a challenge and I really enjoy being in a creative studio. My sister is my partner in crime and she always said you be creative and I will look after the rest so I was quite free in that way.

V How would you describe yourself?

JL Ha! Depends which day of the week! I like to have fun, I like to work hard, I love to be proud and respectful, I love learning. I really love talking and people.

V When you think about describing yourself, does that characterization translate into a description of your clothing line? In other words, do you think your designs reflect who you are as a person?

JL I think sometimes you may see a piece in the collection and think yes that is really me in a nutshell, it really says what I want to say! I think yes. It has to. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.

V Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re designing?

JL Literally everywhere, the main thing is to keep sketching and developing ideas until you get there. Designing is a conversation with your team and sometimes the mistakes are the beauty.

V Over your years of experience, what do you think you’ve ultimately learned as a designer and how are you implementing that knowledge into your more recent collections?

JL I think just trust your eye and your judgement, listen to people with expertise and knowledge, but don't be afraid to question it as well.

V In terms of your latest collection, where did you seek inspiration for those designs?

JL The women's collection was really inspired by Bjork and her album debut. Many other things but mainly Bjork as a starting point.

V In terms of the fabric choices and tailoring, is there any overarching themes?

JL Yes, there is always a juxtaposition of sport. The knitwear is important and special to Iceberg. Italy versus London. British designer at an Italian family brand.

V What can we expect for the future of Iceberg?

JL I still have many ideas and passion for Iceberg, I really love to dig deep into the past but create new stories for now—evolve and develop the aesthetic.

V Looking at all of your major success and everything that is yet to come for you and Iceberg, what do you ultimately want to be remembered for?

JL I would like the teams that I work with to have ultimately enjoyed being part of the creative process and feel proud of the work we all create together.

Take a look at Iceberg's Fall/Winter 2020 womenswear collection, below.


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