This article was originally published on _Shift London (December/January 2016).
Graeme Gaughan is the man behind last season’s LC:M standout show, Tourne de Transmission’s We The Ignorant Youth, and crafter of a decade-long career in fashion.
Creative director and partner are just two of the hats Gaughan wears, the former at contemporary menswear brand Tourne de Transmission and the latter at fashion and lifestyle PR agency Sane Communications. _SHIFT takes some time out of Graeme’s busy schedule to talk about his career, the legendary late Barry Kamen and what he expects to see at this season’s London Collections: Men AW16 shows.
So Graeme you have worked in fashion and lifestyle PR for ten years now, is that correct? Was this something you always wanted to do?
Around that time yep… maybe longer. No, it wasn’t planned. I was always conscious of clothes and trends from my teenage years through music. But growing up in a new town, in the Midlands, this job doesn’t really exist and the fashion business has no relevance in a way, so you don’t think to aim for it. Nowadays, its much more front of mind with TV and the internet. People are switched onto things earlier.
You are the Partner/Director of SANE Communications. What sets Sane apart from other PR companies?
None of the SANE partners come from a traditional “PR Agency” background – this is the first difference. What we share is a pronounced passion about our work and an industry which clearly captivates us. We are self-confessed geeks, product obsessives and we look at PR as “Product Representation”. Our MO being that we actually care about and like the products and brands we represent.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Hard to say… Becoming a partner at Sane, and helping to shape what it is today, is a highlight.
What are the biggest lessons your career has taught you?
Don’t try to plan too much. Life has a way of changing those plans for you. Sometimes for good, sometimes for the worse. And most of all, be nice. You never know where people will end up. But at the same time, don’t take no shit. If you have a good argument, back it up.
After seven years in PR, you founded Tourne de Transmission. What led to this decision?
I had always had little creative projects on the go, be it musical, art or graphic based. Its kind of like my mental man shed. Where I go to take my mind off the 9-5 so to speak. The label just began to resonate with people, so I started to develop it further. I now feel it has a recognised handwriting and style, and I am happy. But the day I don’t enjoy it, I will stop. Its that simple.
Tourne de Transmission turns four in January — congratulations — over the years TDT has evolved from a t-shirt label into a fully fledged contemporary menswear brand. Could you talk us through that journey?
Thanks. Everything up to AW15 were sketches, not full collections. And yes, I had to give these sketches a title and season. But, to me, they were never fully formed expressions. Now I feel this is beginning to make sense to people. They can start to see what I see. Going from a few t-shirts to what it is now was a lot of hard work and late nights. That right there, is the key to moving it forward. Balancing multiple jobs and commitments, in order to make it work. Its all the back office shit that people don’t see. Those nights you are wrestling with Excel order sheets trying to get them to make sense. Not just creating nice images. All of this is the journey and all of it is necessary.
Tourne de Transmission’s SS16 collection is entitled, We The Ignorant Youth. Could you elaborate on the meaning behind the name and collection?
Its a remark on how we “the modern world” are looked upon by indigenous tribes and how our ability to read the world we live in is pretty poor. The Kogi tribe, which the collection was based around, have been around for thousands of years, have very little technology, but their ability to read their environment and climate is way more advanced. They call themselves the World’s Elder Brothers. Hence, “we are the ignorant youth” not listening to their warnings, like a petulant teenager dismissing advice from an older brother or parent.
In 2015, you partnered up with an iconic creative pioneer, the late Barry Kamen, on the SS16 collection and a capsule which referenced art produced by kids in conflict-torn Syria. How did the collaborations come about?
Barry had become a good friend in the last two years. A short time in comparison to all the people he knew and lives he touched. With him you could open up and talk about all the things that got you excited about the world. He had that energy about him. He just loved to talk about these things. He also knew a lot about a lot of stuff. So you were never stuck for conversation.
TDT’s previous collections have featured fresh faces— models and non-models. Could you talk us through the model casting process and should we expect similar for the AW16 show?
Last season there was a defined casting mandate, due to the nature of the main influence — the Kogi. But this coming season, I want it to be a bit more free and fluid. I don’t care if the person is a model or not. If they have a certain energy or look about them, then that’s enough.
Tourne de Transmission unveiled its AW16 collection on Monday January 11 2016
All images via Tourne de Transmission/SANE Communications