Gareth Pugh is a fashion designer who has received global recognition for both his outlandish clubwear and his novel approach to redefining modern luxury.
Born in Sunderland, he studied on the Art Foundation course at City of Sunderland College and completed his degree in Fashion Design at Central St Martins in 2003. During a work placement assisting Rick Owens at luxury furrier Revillon, Pugh met Michelle Lamy, the Parisian fashion consultant largely responsible for the commercial ascent of the Owens label. In the Autumn of 2006, Lamy became official backer to Pugh, their collaboration marking a more luxurious direction in his work with the introduction of cashmere, leather and mink to collections.
Pugh’s designs such as his famous inflated balloon garments are inspired by shape, proportion and process. He has shown at London Fashion Week as part of Fashion East and was awarded New Generation sponsorship to show in Autumn/Winter 2006. Pugh has collaborated with magazines including Arena Homme+, Self Service, CENT, i-D and Dazed & Confused. In 2004, Pugh’s ‘inflatable creatable’ installation was chosen as the sculptural centre piece for a Dazed & Confused exhibition showcasing designers including Stella McCartney, D&G and Hussein Chalayan. Pugh also regularly works with Judy Blame, who designs exclusive jewellery pieces to accompany his collections.
In 2008, Pugh received the ANDAM prize, and began to show in Paris from the S/S 2009 season. Pugh’s designs are stocked in Side by Side in Japan, Seven and Opening Ceremony in New York, and in London by Browns and Dover Street Market.
Pugh is known for his extreme, very extreme personal style, dark theatrical aesthetic, uncompromising vision and evident raw talent.
Pugh’s trademark is his experimentation with form and volume and usage of balloons. He often usesnonsensically shaped, wearable sculptures to distort the human body almost beyond recognition. “I like working with a shape that explores the space around the body. I also like the party spirit it creates and the fact it’s not some big complex couture thing. – Gareth Pugh”
Elements in his designs include PVC inflated into voluminous coats, black and white patchwork squares, Perspex discs linked like chain mail, and shiny latex masks and leggings; he has used materials including mink, parachute silk, foam footballs, afro-weave synthetic hair, and electrically charged plastic in his clothing.
Pugh’s work is more Autobiographical than referential. Getting Inspiration from Britain’s Extreme club scene or Sunderland where he grew up. “It comes from the everyday things that surround me. I grew up in Sunderland so that is a big source of ideas, and also the people that are part of my life inspire me. Sometimes an idea takes on a life of its own and takes me on an unexpected journey – Gareth Pugh” Pugh describes his clothing as ‘a struggle between lightness and darkness’
Pugh’s different views on clothing, His imagination, using the catwalk more like a vehicle to show his aesthetic artistic talent are what draw people to his shows.