I met Evan Clayton over a year and a half ago. In fact it was the day that I interviewed David Jack! Evan was David’s apprentice and busy working away in the background and unbeknownst to me, he was an incredible designer in the making and I would interview him one day too!
Evan recently showcased his second collection at VFW and I, along with all the EC admirers, waited with bated breath for his collection to hit the runway. When he revealed his first collection last season, he knocked everyone sideways because he pushed the boundaries and disregarded any politeness about showcasing a raw, edgy, artistic and partially nude fashion show. It made you stop and think about the story and meaning behind the collection. Well, Evan’s latest collection, named KIN, was just as delightfully shocking! It had a completely different theme and background but with the same haunting romanticism as his last collection. The collection drew on aspects from the sea, with the show starting off with sheer white designs, reminding me of Japanese kimono’s, which clung to the models wet bodies. Next were stiff white leather corset style bodices with sheer green fabric, creating a great aesthetic contrast. The last piece was exceptionally bold – a clear plastic PVC bustier trimmed with sea shells worn by a topless model.
Evan’s designs have been worn by local actress Zara Durani, Lady Gaga, Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderfvck and Manila Luzon who all own pieces of his collection so it’s not surprising that he would love to design for Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness.
Currently all pieces are either samples or custom orders through Evan at his studio but you can get in touch and follow him on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.
Tell me about your brand?
I like to think of EVAN CLAYTON as an autobiography. I like to take different inspirations and use them as a lens to explore my past, present and tentative future incarnations of myself.
Where are you from? What is your educational background?
I grew up all over B.C. but most of my life has been spent on the Kootenay areas, specifically Trail. A big part of my life was spent on Vancouver Island living with my grandparent during the summer. I went to school at the Blanche MacDonald Center and graduated in 2011.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is the most authentic form of personal expression.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m in a constant state of inspiration, and am heavily inspired by history and the natural world.
When did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
On some level I knew that I wanted to work in fashion from a very young age, but I wanted to design after watching my first McQueen show when I was 13.
What was the first piece you ever designed/created and how old were you?
Hmmmm… I remember the first piece I ever designed was a rainbow fur coat that I colored with gel pens when I was 7 or 8. But the first piece I ever designed and made was a portfolio piece for Blanche MacDonald. It was a red silk strapless cocktail dress weigh grey and black tulle messily wrapped around it.
Who inspired you to become a fashion designer?
What has been the inspiration for your collections?
My first collection was inspired heavily by the Lady Gaga song “Princess Die”, the death of Joan of Arc, and drag performer Sharon Needles. It was meant to be seen as a metaphor for the decay of the modern superstar, a concept Lady Gaga frequently explores. For my most recent collection I looked toward Japanese historical costume and watched a lot of David Attenborough documentaries on the Pacific Northwest.
What are your favorite fabrics/materials to work with?
I love working with leather!
What is the general process you go through to create a piece?
Every piece is different, but generally when I design a collection I mass design the whole thing and tweak elements of it as I design. I personally pattern draft and make every single piece on my collection right now. Depending on the piece I usually utilize a mixture of draping and pattern drafting. Often I find myself dyeing fabrics as well to get the right color. Once piece can take anywhere between a day and 2 weeks.
What is the hardest piece you have ever created?
Probably anything I’ve done in a molded leather haha.
What matters to you most as a designer?
Authenticity. Even if your design is a lie, at least be real about it.
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Attention to detail, even if it means actually lining garments properly.
How would you define your city’s fashion? And/or what would you like your city’s fashion/style to look like?
People dress here rather simply. I like to see people breaking molds. I think some of the most fashionable people in Vancouver are the punk kids that hang out on Granville.
What is your favourite current trend and how would you define your personal style?
Romantic gothic! And Black, black and more black!
What are your fashion goals over the next few years?
I’d like to be showing internationally within a year.
Are you working on another collection – what can we expect, can you give us a clue?
I have a follow up to KIN in the works, but I’m going to keep it under wraps for now ;o)
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
I would be in the forest saving the whales.
What is one fun thing that people probably don’t know about you?
The choir that I was in when I was 12 opened for the Barenaked Ladies ;o)
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Design is intelligence made visible” – My mother
Wishing Evan all the best!