Newcomer, Bobby Abley, has just been announced to show as part of the Fashion East Menswear AW13 line up. Here we pair his last collection, “Wishery,” with Rosie McGuinness’ dreamy little illustrations, taking us back to our Disney-loving childhoods. GARAGE catches up with Bobby about nostalgia, Disney princesses, and his inspirations.
GARAGE MAGAZINE: Tell us a bit about yourself- where did you grow up? How old are you?
Bobby Abley: I'm 23 years old and I grew up in a town called Scarborough in North Yorkshire. It’s a small sea side town with a lovely beach, but its not the most.. fashion.. forward of places. I knew early on that I didn’t fit in well there and had to find my own home, but I love going back to see my family.
GM: How has your label developed since you graduated?
BA: I graduated in 2010 and went straight into work. I was offered a job so I took it, not thinking about any other options. It is mainly this past year I really started to work on my own ideas and establishing a label. I got to a point where I was getting out of bed at 3am and sketching ideas for a collection. I just felt more and more strongly that this was the right thing to do, so I started putting all my energy into it and giving my brand an identity. I think since graduating the most developed thing is the identity. It has gotten stronger.
GM: What inspired your last collection?
BA: My SS13 collection was based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I had these thoughts in my head about Snow White being a boy and what he would wear In todays world, so I came up with looks that were a bit boyish using the pastel colours from the old movie and turning some of the scenes into prints like the forest and the friendly critters.
GM: Was there a particular message you wanted to portray through this (Disney references, superheroes)?
BA: It was definitely an interpretation of myself. These cartoon superheroes and alter egos were something I loved as a child and the bondage was an indication of me being a bit obsessed with my search for an alternative existence, being bound to this concept, plus I thought it would be quite funny to mix primary colour with bondage and make it look a bit like toys.
GM: What are you working on at the moment?
BA: At the moment I am working on my AW13 collection for the Fashion East men’s installations. I’m really excited, it’s a great platform for me.
GM: You've worked with Jeremy Scott and Alexander McQueen before, do you think they have influenced your work? If so, how?
BA: I’ve always been a fan of both of them. Studying fashion you look up to people like McQueen, he’s done things that are so strong they will stand the test of time and go down in history and it’s a mix of beautiful tailoring and bold concept. Jeremy I love so much as a person as well as a designer, he just knows how to have fun with it all; it’s not too serious and not a joke which I respect him for to be able to find that balance and deliver each season. It was a pleasure to work for him, a definite highlight of living in LA.
GM: Your collection is quite nostalgic - what makes you nostalgic?
BA: The Little Mermaid for sure. I remember loving that from the age of five, making my sister watch it on repeat. Ariel is my ultimate muse. I’ve convinced myself she is real and out there in the ocean somewhere combing her hair with a fork. I have her tattoo on my arm and Ursula on my leg. And I have the soundtrack on my playlist. Anything related to that makes me very nostalgic, as well as Lego, just the smell of toys in general. Teddy bears too. My mum had a teddy by her bed that someone got for her when she was born, it was always on show, scruffy and cute, now I look after him, he’s sat on my shelf and I turned him in to my brand logo.
GM: Who would you most like to see wearing your designs?
BA: I would love to see someone like G Dragon in my designs, and Mickey Mouse of course.
GM: If you ever lack inspiration what do you do?
BA: Disneyland. I try to go as often as I can, I feel comforted by everything around me there. It removes you from reality, funny shaped trees, pink castles, everyone really happy and Mickey Mouse walking around. I feel like I’m a cartoon when I go there and I always find inspiration.
GM: What are your favourite things to do in your spare time?
BA: I try and take advantage of all the free galleries in London. I love going to see the Pre- Raphaelites at the Tate Britain. Millais’s Ophelia is one of my favourite paintings ever and the execution of Lady Jane Gray at the National Gallery, I could stare at that for hours. I like to sit and drink tea and eat scones (haha, so British) I watch a lot of cartoons too.
GM: What's on your Christmas list?
BA: I really want a Dalmation puppy or a tarantula or both, but I fear the dog might try and eat the spider!
GM: What can we expect from you in the future?
BA: Hopefully more collections. I’d like to keep bringing my ideas to life and putting them out there and gain the respect of the fashion world.
Illustrations: Rosie McGuinness
All clothing Bobby Abley, all shoes by Y-3 Adidas