The Future of Storytelling: A Chat With Scottacus Anthony

Fashion, Interview

Some of the best storytellers are the ones who speak volumes without saying a word. It is in their vision, execution and appetite for change that the world will see their true story unfold. What lies behind the power of Scottacus Anthonys’ drawing quill is his ability to brave the subconscious layers of historic narratives, combined with print engineering, and a severe penchant for bold, impending colors. While serving under the tutelage of [Alexander] McQueen as an intern during his B.A. studies, Scottacus began filling up his own design arsenal with ways to build on top of already established elements of pattern cutting. It is here, and through painstaking bravery and valorous maneuvers, that the designer discovered stories in the form of sartorial, temporal and imaginary designs. 

Describe the Scottacus Anthony brand in five words?

Pret-a-couture, sartorial, flamboyant, structured, fearless.

Your background is in pattern cutting and print engineering. How do you feel the technological developments in these studies are affecting you creatively as well as the fashion industry as a whole?

I think these developments are changing the very fundamentals of fashion. Such as the ability to create a customized mass market, as seen with the ADIDAS trainers that allow the user to upload their own images or print to be applied to the shoes. With greater developments come some wonderful explorations of ideas. It is a very exciting time.

Scottacus Anthony combines an innovative use of whimsical and playful with a defined mix of semantic and sartorial in all the collections. How important is it for you to communicate these aspects in the clothes?

I have always been interested in history, and there is always a subconscious layer of historic narrative that goes through my thought and research processes. I often find historical people and events inspirational, and use this as a spring board to differentiate the story of the collection. I’m very much a storyteller.

In your last collection, decoupage treatments were applied, creating tangible layers and 3D relief sculpture. Is this a signature trait and one that you will continue to infuse in the brand?

I love textiles and finding new ways of doing things; combining different techniques to give newer results. The decoupage treatment was actually inspired from my mum and grandmother — they both make these beautifully crafted layered cards for family birthdays. I then looked at translating this technique to fabric and print.

The clothes are fueled by strong colors, hyper-detailed 3D prints and bold constructions. However, the silhouettes are classically tailored and elegant. Tell me why you combine these two.

I love tailoring. I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than a well-fitted coat. It will make you feel like you can conquer the world. I spent a lot of time researching historical military uniforms and how they are constructed. The silhouettes may look classically tailored but are actually highly complex pattern cutting. I love cutting clothes in special ways that you only notice up close, filled with little details and clever seam placement. These separate elements started to be combined after an internship at [Alexander] McQueen during my B.A. studies. Applying and manipulating prints to fit and match creative pattern cutting has become something that is always carried through my work.

How does your process begin — is it the print engineering and pattern cutting that comes first, or does it start with a sketch or concept you’re inspired by?

I generally tend to get a concept together from tons and tons of different juxtaposing research, often topics that are completely different, and fusing these elements to create a newer vision. Like the combination of structured military uniforms in campy colours and furs with Indian referenced prints. I come from a sculptural background, so I tend to drape on the stand first as a design process. A lot of my design process is through cutting, working out where and how pieces fit together. Print is a symbolic relationship with the design process — it’s not something I focus too much on. The narrative of my story tends to help translate, but this usually comes after toiling.

All your collections encompass classical themes entrenched in modern methods. What are some of the elements or eras of the past that inspire you?

Men’s clothing between the 1700-1900s. I love the cuts of the frock coat. This is also around the time pattern cutting really develops. There is also something romantic and powerful about these type of clothes — they did build empires. I think fashion has to be modern; if modern ideas and techniques aren’t applied, then it’s just costume.

You’re at the forefront of emerging design, especially when it comes to your own career. What other paths do you see yourself exploring in order to have your vision grow?

I would love to establish myself, look at growing my womenswear brand and adding menswear. I have always enjoyed making menswear. Maybe in 10+ years, but who knows.

Your collections feature a variety of fabrics and textures that harmonize perfectly with colorful palettes. Can you tell us about some of your favorite materials and pieces to work with?

A lot of the collection uses traditional types of fabrics with new technology. Wired organza mesh for sheer dresses gives an armoured hardness softened with the sheerness and, further, by fur; metallic bonded prints and suiting wools gives the fabric these wonderful neoprene type handles and qualities. I worked with Saga Furs to also apply this technique to the back of the fur giving them this exquisite honeycomb of rubbers gold inside.

What are some of the difficulties and nuisances you face when you’re developing a collection?

Low production orders and small teams. I basically spend 80% of my week doing non-design work, for example administration duties, emails, etc. It can be quite overwhelming when you are designing and developing a new collection.

How do you see the future unfolding for the Scottacus Anthony brand?

At the moment, I’m trying to grow the brand with the aims of becoming a London Fashion Week showcase brand. I’d love to start a menswear line once my womenswear brand is thriving.

Can you tell us about your background, such as upbringing, education, inspirations, hobbies, etc.?

I come from a scutlpural background, inspired by the works of Barbara Hepworth and Peter Randall Page. I am a massive sci fi/fantasy fan and love myself a bit of escapism. I’m also quite a DIY enthusiast — love building and making things. But, I think that all stems from my sculptural background.

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