Shoewawa Interview: Jack Hemingway

Earlier this week, we caught up with multi-talented designer Jack Hemingway, son of Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway and the creative force behind a new collection for iconic Brit label Hush Puppies. Check out the collection on video over at the Hemingway Design site. Here’s what Jack had to say about his latest project:

What did you most enjoy about designing this range?

This is my first time designing footwear (other than spending time at the Red or Dead design studio as a kid and being taken around dozens of footwear exhibitions!) so the whole process has been an enjoyable and informative experience. There have been two highlights for me: the first came when I revealed the collection to friends who work in the industry. I was nervous because I asked them to be brutally honest and they were…they loved it!

Has your own background in the British club scene inspired this collection?

I like to think of myself as a club kid but I can’t say that I’ve experienced club culture at its most triumphant period (I’m only 25). I don’t think the current underground scene comes close to matching the creativity, energy and invention of youth culture and fashion movements through the last 60-70 years. As a result I think there are pockets of young creatives reinventing the fashions and sounds of times gone by whether it be the 50s Rockin’ scene, Modernist movement or Rave era. The collection doesn’t replicate archive styles, but it does reference classic design detail from these three moments in British youth culture where Hush Puppies were ‘doing it well’.

What do you think it is about brothel creepers and ‘Teddy Boy’ style shoes that are resonating so much with today’s fashion conscious consumers?

Teddy Boy style is a classic, distinctly British look and frequently revisited look. Over the last few years menswear has, thankfully, become less safe as the consumer has become increasingly open to experiment with colour and shape. As a result Teddy Boy style and shoes with height have seen something of resurgence.

The collection translates very well into womenswear and we will soon be introducing women’s sizes and ‘takes’ on the men’s styles.

What do you look for when choosing a pair of shoes?

I have far too many shoes… I wish I had some sort of criteria that I implemented when buying footwear but generally if I see something I like I buy it. Buying shoes that fit properly should be the number one consideration but I have made the mistake of buying ill-fitting shoes far too often for the sake of a beautiful pattern.

Tell us a bit about the materials you’ve used to make this collection

This is a fashion forward collection and as such is considerably removed from the mainstream Hush Puppies product in terms of styling but it has the same high quality of manufacture, Wolverine suede, comfort and durability that has always been associated with the brand. We wanted to use materials that matched the level of design detail in the collection and Wolverine suede is without doubt the best quality suede available.

How does Hush Puppys’ ethos fit with your own?

At HemingwayDesign we are seen as experts in looking at great moments in British design and popular culture and putting them into a modern context. This is exactly what we’re doing with Hush Puppies.

Hush Puppies came to prominence at a time of great importance musically, as well as culturally, and is recognized as a staple of the late 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll scene, as the shoe of choice throughout the Mod movement, and the essential footwear for the fashion conscious ‘lad’ of the 1980s. The HemingwayDesign collection combines ‘street style’ design with Hush Puppies well-known casual and comfort qualities.

2012 is poised to be HemingwayDesign’s busiest year to date as furniture with G Plan, travel baggage for Antler and a number of products with John Lewis are set to hit the market. Plus the numerous urban regeneration projects getting under way in Kings Lynn, Maidenhead and Aylesbury and of course the Vintage Festival which moves into its third year and takes up residence at its new home at Boughton House. We are also co curating the official party for The Queens Diamond Jubilee for 90,000 people in Battersea Park on June 3.

There are aspirations and long-term plans for the new generation of Hemingways to return the Hemingway name to the fashion industry…watch this space!

What do you think?

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