We’ve been big fans of Edwin for many years now. Their premium selvedge denim, their innovative blend of the new and the traditional, and in recent seasons, their burgeoning clothing range, hits all the right notes for us. Merging workwear, heritage and sportswear with consummate ease, their references are on point, as is their dedication to quality. We thought it high time to sit down for an interview with Edwin head designer Dean Webster to talk about inspiration, design process and managing to take the historic label in a new direction whilst still retaining its core values. Read below to see what Dean has to say about Edwin…
Peggs: Edwin is a brand steeped in tradition and history, having produced high quality denim products since 1947. How difficult is it to bring your own design ethos to the table yet still represent Edwin’s core values?
Dean: It’s a curious balance, but whilst respecting the brands illustrious heritage as a traditional denim brand, my remit as part of the creative team at Edwin Europe has always been to help keep it moving forward and progressively minded.
What were your initial aims when you first started working at Edwin?
I came to Edwin over four years ago now with no pre-conceptions about how my work would turn out. It’s taken time for me to understand the brand, it’s subtle rules, it’s codes and it is still a work in progress for me. Each season is a new learning curve and a challenge which keeps the work fresh I hope.
Have you always harboured a passion for designing clothing?
I guess you could say that I’ve had an almost obsessive interest in clothes from my early teenage years, but I never set out or formally trained to be a designer. I came from a small town, always the outsider, so I was drawn to fashion and its connections with ‘tribes’ and the sub-culture music scene. As a young kid, I was buying and customising second-hand flea market clothing with pins, patches and whatever I could lay my hands on. I guess I’m still doing the same now but in a slightly more structured way.
Do you design with a particular guy in mind?
Not really. Our clothing is democratic. A good denim brand should be for everyone and I think that if a guy looks great in our clothes then that’s good enough for me. If he has a rebellious attitude and great haircut, even better.
What are your influences when designing? How do you start off the creative process?
I always start with the same phrase in mind – ‘What would EDWIN do?’
What does your day-to-day entail?
It changes but generally, lots of coffee, cigarettes, research, meetings and general problem solving. Drinks after work.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job? And what are the most challenging?
Being able to do what I love doing and getting paid for doing it is the most rewarding. Keeping the brand relevant, commercial and interesting in today’s menswear market without losing sight of its’ origins is perhaps the most challenging.
How do you go about sourcing the materials, it can’t be easy acquiring the fabrics you need and processing them into something usable?
We do the usual fabric fairs to research market trends and, of course, I have my favourite mills to visit each season. It’s all out there if you know where to look and if what you’re looking for isn’t, then it’s a case of developing it, which we do with the help of our suppliers.
Are there any favourite pieces that stick out in your mind?
Although my work at Edwin-Europe concentrates more on the ‘tops’ or seasonal mainline collection (non-denim), I’m a big fan of the jeans we produce, especially the Made In Japan line. My favourite pair of jeans is our Japan 50’s model. A killer anti-fit jean, beautifully crafted, in great denims. My favourite SS17 mainline collection pieces are the cotton poplin bowling shirts and the ‘So Far So Good’ embroidered black poly cotton Garage Jacket (shown above). Both dope items every Edwin fan should be wearing next season. I’m also a big fan of the ‘fuck you, we don’t just make blue’ pastel story. Men in pink, at Edwin! Who would have thought…
Who would have thought indeed. A huge thanks to Dean and Ally for taking the time to get this together. You can shop our selection of Edwin jeans, including their new ED-45 style, over on the website now…