Jack Irving wowed the fashion crowd at On|Off’s 20th showcase held during London Fashion Week with his innovative and theatrical approach to fashion with a 15-piece collection of inflatable fashion that was part clothing, part sculpture.
Irving, who was made famous by creating bold outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and Cheryl, presented an eclectic collection called ‘Quixotic’ inspired by deep sea life, which manifested into innovative tentacle-like sculptures worn by models down the catwalk.
“Now more than ever, we need imagination and creative solutions. It’s what drives us forward, what pushes the boundaries of our thinking,” said Lee Lapthorne, founder and creative director at On|Off. “Jack represents everything London Fashion Week stands for, and at On/Off we are proud to be supporting talent like never before, providing a platform for it to thrive and create a nurturing environment for development.”
On|Off celebrates 20 years with Jack Irving
Ahead of his LFW catwalk show, FashionUnited chatted to Irving about his innovative collection, designing for the metaverse, working with On|Off, as well as his goals for the future.
What’s the inspiration behind your autumn/winter 2022 collection?
The collection is inspired by deep sea life, plunging into an ethereal aesthetic obsessed with the nearest thing to alien life on earth – deep sea creatures. Combined with my everlasting love of the circus of showbiz, theatre, and famous illuminations. The collection is a no holds barred fusion of the best from my past, present and future as a visual artist.
As well as doing a physical collection, you have also designed for the metaverse with an NFT collection – what interested you in digital fashion?
Being a visual artist is something that touches on many creative disciplines of expression, and the foray into the metaverse seemed like a very natural progression for me. Launching into the NFT world with Maie’s rendition of my Prismatic dress has been a dream come true and adding the next 3 designs to the launch during LFW is a great way to engage with the metaverse and all the possibilities it offers. Being able to design pieces that mimic the ethereal movements of the creatures I was inspired by has been a great journey to demonstrate my future artistic endeavours.
What does it mean to be part of On|Off’s 20th-anniversary showcase at LFW?
It’s a great honour to be part of On | Off’s 20th anniversary, a combined celebration of creativity and imagination, and a return to London Fashion Week’s physical shows via a mixed reality experience. This is what London Fashion Week is all about. On|Off has always been at the cutting edge of London, with so many big names having graced its runway. It's super exciting to be at the centre of this event.
Your creations have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton – is there a celebrity that you would love to dress? Oh, there are so many of them, but I think being able to design bespoke pieces that fit into the narrative of each amazing personalities is a one-of-a-kind experience that pushes the boundaries of my designs and proves that there are no limits to imagination and creation.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business?
I think it has impacted everyone’s business in different ways, it pushed us all to reset, to look into new ways to create, to finance ourselves, to launch new products and activate collections differently than ever before, and in a way, despite the financial impact to the business, the pandemic has proven to be beneficial in pushing the limits of our creativity, both as a collective of London emerging designers, and in general for the Jack Irving brand.
What are your goals for the next 12-months?
My goal is to keep growing, both in the physical world with the designs I’m known for in the industry, but also within the metaverse. The collaboration with BNV has been beneficial to open the doors to future wearability of garments, as well as to express their movements and colours in ways physical designs can’t yet do. It’s a place where we are building an entirely new society, where the value provided to the growing metaverse community is true, transparent and secure ownership of high-value digital assets and opportunities. Collaboration will always be a thing for us - my recent partnership with Rubyoung to highlight On|Offs twenty years is a testament to that.
You studied performance design and practice rather than a fashion-focused degree – why was that?
I decided to study something somewhat different because of the freedom it allowed me to develop my design aesthetic. I am at the end of the day a storyteller, a visual artist and a fantasist, and the course allowed me to give in to that force and let it run wild. My mission is to engulf the world in the most fantastical spectacle, incorporating all elements of theatricality with a love for colliding technology with live performance.
One piece of advice you’d give a student fashion designer starting out?
To not give up, to let creativity run amok. Don't give in to compromise, especially when it comes to concept and creativity. Be prepared for hard work. Love the process.
If you could be the creative helm of any luxury house, which would you choose?
It would need to be somewhere where fantasy, creativity and technology meet harmoniously. Where collections are not forced, bumped out and contrived, and artistry reins and is the epicentre of the business. Any ideas?
Who in the fashion industry inspires you – and why?
Everything around me inspires me, the fashion industry as a whole is an incredibly creative space, with so many inspiring people, creations and garments, colours and fantasies imagined. My work takes me on unlimited adventures and for that, I know how lucky I am. Being back at London Fashion Week this season is a great way to re-connect with the industry, to re-discover where it all began and where I’m going.