Britain is the best at nurturing young fashion designers but it's unclear how to stop the talent drain, says designer-turned-director Tom Ford.
Ford was at the Apple store in central London's Regent Street on Thursday (June 14) to meet fans and talk about his career with Grazia Fashion Editor Paula Reed.
When asked by Reed "Is there a city, in your experience of all these cities in the world, that particularly fosters young talent?" Ford said London, and Reed replied the British fashion industry doesn't make any money out of it, to which Ford said:
"No, you don't and that's the problem. With fashion in England because this is where the talent comes from. You go to Paris, you go to Milan and the design studios are just filled with English, British design assistants. But yet, and I can't quite figure out why, in this country, the fashion industry, as itself, hasn't been able to support that talent and keep it here. I moved my design studio when I was at Gucci, to London, A. because I love London and I wanted to spend more time here and live here. I'd been living in Paris and Milan a long time. I wanted to live in a place where I could speak my native language daily. But also, most of my assistants were English so it was a very easy move to transfer my design studio from Florence to London."
Ford famously steered Italian-label Gucci from a fledgling brand to one coveted by fashion editors in the early noughties, while also taking design reigns at French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. But he stopped working as Creative Director for the big brands in 2004, and instead started his own menswear, accessories, fragrance, and most recently, a womenswear collection, which has been celebrated by fashion journalists.
He also directed his first feature film "A Single Man" in 2009, which was well-received by critics and earned British star Colin Firth an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
"When I came back to fashion with women's collection and men's collection, I decided not to do runway shows because when you do a runway show, you have to amp (amplify) things up in a way so they read from a great distance, so they are designed for photography rather than for a consumer. So you can exaggerate things when they don't function in real life and what I wanted to do was create clothes for real people," he said.
Ford mentioned that he was finished working on an original screenplay but his eponymous Ready-To-Wear collection was doing so well, he didn't have time to nurture his other passion, filmmaking.
Ford has also designed the clothes and accessories for Daniel Craig in the upcoming James Bond film "Skyfall" due out in October.
Apple will make the videos of Tom Ford available as a podcast in the week commencing on Monday (June 18).