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In an interview with Julie Bérubé of Field of Ponies

Written by Sophie Prescott. In a saturated world of fashion, designers such as Julie Bérubé are a welcome breath of fresh air and a source of authentic creativity in an industry dominated by big names, trends and a new-founded ‘selfie-culture’. It takes a brand such as Field of Ponies to shake things up with awkward cuts, clashing textures and unisex pieces, inspired by everything from the destructive nature of civilisation to witches, mermaids and everything else transhuman.

Following her eponymous label which debuted in 2002, Julie Bérubé has truly gone from strength to strength offering curious cuts and edgy designs, offering her latest Field of Ponies collection London Fashion Week this year. Taking pride in traditional crafting techniques, we see intricate attention to detail in her pieces, full of mismatched materials and a story behind each outfit. We caught up with Julie to discuss everything from her most recent collection to her opinions on the current state of the fashion industry as a whole.

Sophie Prescott: Firstly, how did the London Fashion Week presentation go?
Julie Bérubé: I was happy with my presentation, it encapsulated well what the brand is about. It’s easy to wear but it’s got tons of attitude, it’s not a sleek look, it’s sort of hanging weirdly on the body. We played with hair extensions that where sort of thrown on the head in an untidy way. I would have liked to do more of a performance but the set up wasn’t appropriate for it. Next time! Let’s not kid ourselves, a 3 hours presentation in a multi-label showroom at London Fashion Week doesn’t have the greatest impact for a new brand like me.

SP: The concept behind the brand is fascinating – do you think the ‘selfie culture’ we live in is a good thing for fashion?
JB: It’s got a positive impact on individual style and self expression. I think it can be healthy if done in a creative way – but it does nothing good for fashion designers for the simple reason that most of these photographs are focusing on the face! If we see a whole look, it’s generally logo or brand specific. The selfie culture is good for adornment, make-up, hair colour, tattoos, body modifications, etc.

I would also add that for me the old-school/high fashion/traditional importance that was allocated to the perfect cut, to enhance the body, and all the 3D work – a fashion designer had to really push for in order to create a silhouette, is becoming irrelevant. I develop my products with images in mind. The graphic aspect is very important for me, the visual impact on a small Instagram image needs to be very strong. Then when you go closer, you realize all the labour that is actually involved in it and I think that gives it the wow factor, it’s not lazy stuff. It’s got depth.

SP: Tell us more about the average Field of Ponies wearer.
JB: That’s a weird one because it’s very broad. It appeals to the Asian club kids as much as the Parisian chic woman. I still need to get my head around it to be honest!

SP: Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
JB: I grew up as a hardcore/punk girl so I draw a lot of my aesthetic from that movement. In the way I do things as well, I like to work fast, in a trashy way. That’s how ideas come to me, by fucking around with materials lying in my studio, I make mistakes, and weird things that I create without thinking much and then I refine the ideas. I’m also obsessed by tribalism, I mean the aesthetic choice of creating outfits with readily available materials.

SP: What is your opinion on mainstream fashion trends at the moment? Do you feel we are in need of a bit more creativity?
JB: I don’t pay much attention to runways anymore, it’s all pretty much boring in my opinion. I can’t say there are trends anymore. It’s the same old thing rehashed every year. Nautical and festival for Summer, grunge for Autumn and Winter. Otherwise, interesting designers are forced to rework their signatures. They have no choice. There’s too much fashion available, so we as designers have no choice but work a signature until we’re all sick of it. It’s amazing to think that old school designers like Yves Saint-Laurent could do one collection inspired by Morocco one season, then one by flamenco the next without no link from one to the other. Now we are referencing, referencing, referencing endlessly. There are some interesting collections mainly from New York who are playing with the idea of genderlessness which are proposing a new-ish aesthetic. But I feel it is more about an important cultural topic than an excusive fashion movement so let’s see where it goes.

SP: What are your favourite SS16 pieces from your collection?
JB: I really like the mega long sleeves top. It’s so simple and so wrong at the same time. And I love the pink fur pieces especially the bomber jacket.

SP: Where do you see Field of Ponies heading in the future?
JB: I started this label to connect with people, not to work in my studio 24/7, or to sit at empty trade shows for days. I am working on projects where I can show directly to customers, involve them in my presentations. I would even love to offer workshops where all participants could create garments or toys or whatever they wish from fabric remnants. I want to do public photo shoots where people can model and style themselves live. Let’s see! In the meantime, I am launching a range of t-shirts exclusively on my website. I felt I had to introduce pieces that were more affordable and easier to wear than my main line of sweatshirts. They will be available just before Christmas.

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