ANOTHER BLOG + Greg Chapman .interview 004.

Awhile back when checking up on Andrew Bunny's Honeyee blog I came across a post about his visit to the new Couverture & The Garbstone building in West London. The post also featured a man by the name of Greg Chapman, holding his favourite piece from the store. Finding the item he was holding only to be noticed by someone of good taste and by his over all unique appearance I decided to look him up. While not finding much of anything, (search 'Greg Chapman' in Google you will come up everything and everyone else but him) Andrew Bunny graciously included a link to Greg's personal site...From there I instantly knew he'd be the next person to contact for an interview.

The London based and Manchester native has been involved with a quite impressive range of fashion companies. Performing various tasks like creative consulting work with DKNY to trend forecasting for well know staple brands like Nike and Levis, he can be seen as a sort of modern Stevedore for todays design houses and labels...

Although, the most important talent I see in Greg would be his ability to connect different companies together, therefore creating new experiences that in other words would never be made..something I've always felt to be one of the most important details within design.

Q. Can you share some information on your formal education and training, while in school did you maintain a focus on Design+Management?

A. Didn’t study, I have over 20 years in menswear from working the shop floor, to design PR marketing and product development so I pick things up along the way!!

How did you gain the initial trust from various retailers in Britain when supplying their stores with your finds from New York back in the 80’s? Oh and what kind of sneakers were they?

I was well known and people trusted my taste, I was buying Jordan’s superstars, Dunks etc…

What do you see as a main difference between the European and American marketplace when it comes to the appreciation of a well designed product? Is there more respectability from one market to the other?

I think these days people are well aware of what good product is all over the world, especially in the US UK and Japan where people share the same interests and obsessions, then there are a lot of people who don’t really give a damn! However I have seen growth within the people who do care!!

When you took on the responsibility of re-entering Fred Perry’s footwear line to the market what were some of the things you felt had been missing from the brands identity and do you feel they have successfully built upon the connections you’ve made after leaving the position, specifically speaking with their Comme des Garçons collection?

Fred Perry had not made any footwear for over 30 years, so I took a little of their heritage which was Ping Pong/Table Tennis (as Fred Perry was world champion) to influence the direction and hit on the low vulcanised plimsol trend which was starting to happen in the UK at that time. As I had a good relationship with Comme des Garçons and knew their taste, I was confident that the collaboration would come together.

Can you provide any guidance for a young creative looking to get into the realm of fashion buying and sourcing, knowing they have the intuitional talent how do they get others to recognize it?

It is very hard to translate into a wider market, it can be very difficult to get people to understand what a brands identity is all about which is sometimes vital to a good sell through, I found that a smaller enviroment is much easier to do this than a big space, sometimes you have to sacrifice credibility for intuition.

When creating brand identity would you approach it differently when it’s strictly an online shop like BEINGHUNTED’S The Glade opposed to a traditional physical space?

No absolutely not, I do feel that there is huge growth and potential in this area, it is something I tried a while back but the consumer just wasn’t there, however these days people are a lot more informed!!

What part of the world do you see the most exciting ventures popping up? Some of your
favourite shops?

I do find it hard to get excited these days, however all the new Vintage Showrooms in NYC and London are amazing, I’m a diehard RRL fan, I do like the energy and variety of menswear in NYC and really look up to the Japanese for enthusiasm and obsession. Alban London & Oi Polloi Manchester .

Any last words?

Manchester United for the double!!


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