Oliver Spencer announced AW17 Catwalk Show on aturday January the 7th.
Oliver Spencer has big designs on the Canadian men’s-wear scene. With one outpost in Toronto’s West Queen Street West neighbourhood, which opened in 2010, the 47-year-old designer feels our style savvy guys are ready to embrace even more of the natty sensibility he dishes out. Spencer is eager to open more Canadian stores, likely starting with Montreal.
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The wily fashion entrepreneur, who hails from Coventry, England, started selling clothing out of a stall on London’s Portobello Road while he was still in art school. Frustrated by the teaching process he encountered, he decided to take things into his own hands and two years later, opened his first store. He admits it was a struggle until the day a stylist walked in and bought a waistcoat for the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Suddenly, business picked up.
“You need that bit of luck,” Spencer says.
Luck, vision and drive have all contributed to the success of his eponymous label, which he founded in 2002. Spencer is adamant about telling a lifestyle story with his brand, and cites the importance of bricks and mortar for retail, even though online sales are soaring; during its show at London Fashion Week last September, the brand partnered with the app platform Vero for a shoppable runway experience.
Spencer visited Toronto recently to show off his wares, and I caught up with him at The Drake Hotel to talk about his garments, the difference between men in Toronto and Montreal, and how they will all dress in the future.
With fashion being such a great barometer of our times, how do you think what’s going down politically in North America and in the U.K. is going to translate into the way men want to dress?
I always find that in times of a recession, men actually start to dress up and pay more attention to the way they look. In 2008, there was a massive turning point for men’s wear in general. The 1990s were just horrible for clothing, and the early 2000s were a wasteland as well. The one thing I can credit the Internet for is that men started to have a look at stuff. They started to ask questions about what they were wearing and where it was made. Men like to make investments in pieces. I like to deliver the kind of clothing that a man can go to a wardrobe and not even think about what he’s going to wear, because these pieces automatically become his best friends. It’s speaking to the customer, and it’s lasting. That’s really important. Once you get men hooked into that, they’ll stay with you forever.
So much of style is attitude and the guy who wears the clothes really making the silhouette work. What I love about what you’re doing is that it’s so eclectic.
That’s the point. I’m not telling everybody that they need to walk out in an Oliver Spencer uniform. I think they should be wearing Oliver Spencer with other brands and dressing it up in their own little way. I like individuals. I want that style to come through in people’s character, people’s form. I design for what I love and how I feel, which doesn’t make me necessarily a great designer. I’m not like the genius designer Harley Hughes, head designer at McQueen, and head designer at Margiela before that. He doesn’t look like a McQueen customer, and he doesn’t wear McQueen. But this guy goes out and designs this amazing collection every season.
Excerpts from theglobeandmail.com