Varun Sharma is an immensely talented British designer, whose line I came across at fashion PR company Dyelog. The use of colour, texture and patterns really caught my eye. I’m also a sucker for anything with a street style edge, and his 2015 A/W collection was the perfect middle ground of edgy and sophisticated.
On another visit to Dyelog (this time with Top Model alum, model and presenter Annaliese Dayes) to do a sample pull for our shoot, we left with majority RUN pieces. We just couldn’t resist! (And who would want to???) Varun came across the photos and was pleased with how we captured his pieces. An invitation to his design studio led to a sneak peek of his 2016 A/W collection, just days before his scheduled London Fashion Week (LFW) Fashion Scout showcase at Freemason’s Hall. A treat, really!
I saw it fitting to conduct an impromptu interview.
D: How did you get into fashion design?
V: I wasn’t really interested in it, if I’m going to be honest. Lol. I was finding my way really, and my parents pushed me in this direction. A passion then grew from that. I was about 20 years old when I realized, and I’m 30 now. I wasn’t doing much at the time when I found fashion design. Everyone is good at something, and when you find it you got to stick with it.
D: Where did you study?
V: Middlesex University.
D: Where do you want to take your brand? What do you want for RUN?
V: Right now, I’m focusing on selling. From where I started to now, my designs have become more commercial, more wearable. I feel like that is a really important component and it’s the ideal with the prints, to mix in my creative element and still keep it wearable with the silhouette and design. So, basically, I’m focusing even more on making it a bit more commercial. The thing is as well, when a brand moves forward you and your team will be able to grow, and be able to invite more trusted business minds to be a part of your team so you can be more creative.
D: What do you want people to walk away with when they see your designs?
V: Refined. I like to use crazy colours, prints and fabrics sometimes. I’ve changed my creative direction a million times over the years, but I want people to realize there’s a vision behind it and no matter what, that I’ve been able to refine and convey it. To able to understand and respect my work and the process.
D: Do you name your collections?
V: You know what.. No. I know a lot of people do but.. no lol. I just tend to stay away from that.
D: Did you design your logo or did you have a graphic artist do it?
V: I did design it myself! Basically, the symbol is a combination for the symbols for the moon, earth and for the sun. And the concept is it’s kind or my universe.
D: Maybe that’s what has also drawn me to this line, the symbolism and the deeper meaning. A lot of designers out there are getting into the habit of just trend watching and throwing things together hoping for the best.
V: It’s funny, I was talking to some designer friends of mine and they don’t do that. It should all be about the gut. It’s a gut thing. You think about what’s inspiring you now and what colours you want to use. If it’s going to be a great, it has come from somewhere inside. Otherwise, you spend all that time and effort, but your heart’s not even in it.
D: Your line is amazing. Look, I don’t even think you fully understand how obsessed I am with your brand. And I wasn’t the only stylist at Dyelog trying to scoop it up! Lol. All the stylists were drawn to it. I think, because it was so funky, cool and fresh.
V: Really? What can I say, you know. I’ll tell you what. It’s nice to have something bright because when I first started playing around with colours for example, I thought to myself, ”Why do I limit myself?!”
D: So tell the readers what to expect with your 2016 A/W collection.
V: I had such a limited time schedule this time around but the collection has actually ended up being more concise and visually cohesive. The silhouettes are simple but there’s fur and of course I’ve still got the bombers. I love bomber jackets! Fur, mesh, neoprene, cotton, silk, tulle and a limited use of colour this time. Just white, black and yellow. For the concept, I started off with a post-apocalyptic idea, then some punk but some of the punk has been lost. But just think body armour when you look at it. The fabrics are quite light for a A/W collection but I really like the movement and I’m providing the consumer with the option of mixing the pieces during either spring or autumn.
D: Which is good! Meet in the middle. Give the opportunity for the garments to get more wear out of them. And who doesn’t love layering!? These pieces are perfect for that, with their simple silhouette but edgy details.
V: Another aspect of the collection is raw edges. I like to use small details from my inspiration. Using post-apocalyptic, I didn’t want it to become so literal. So just little elements like the raw edge would give the necessary roughness of a stylish post-apocalyptic woman. I like to use two different ideas when designing collections, two totally different ideas, and make them come together by using small elements. Which I think can be quite interesting as opposed to just having one idea, executing it and being really obvious.