'Fashion is very important. It’s life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.' - Vivienne Westwood
For Rebecca Sutherland Young, Vivienne Westwood’s mantra is the key – ‘there isn’t any point if you can’t enjoy yourself’ she continues. When I ask Rebecca Sutherland Young about herself, I expect to, perhaps naively, hear about a student who, like the rest of us, is finding her feet in life, assessing what to do and how to do it. To my surprise (and envy), at the age of 21, Rebecca is admirably confident in what she does, what she will be doing and is well on her way to a career as an esteemed fashion designer. Already Rebecca has her sights set on setting up her own menswear company, having already interned for the Graduate Platform ARTS THREAD where she attended London Fashion Week as a blogger. When looking at her portfolio, and her own website, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rebecca is already a fully-fledged name whose creations are gracing the catwalk – no doubt it will only be a matter of time.
Rebecca tells me about her childhood and everything becomes clear. With her mum being a freelance knitwear designer and now a lecturer in fashion, Rebecca has lived and breathed fashion from an early age. She tells me how she stole her mum’s i-D magazines and flicked through them ‘religiously’ and as such, knew from an early age that she wanted to get into fashion and design her own collection.
‘Fashion is something that everybody is involved in, whether conscious of it or not, it really is a part of everyday life’. This comment is telling when we consider Rebecca’s specialism – menswear. Fashion is becoming increasingly prevalent for the modern day man, and is being made more accessible with Rebecca’s collections. What is clear in her work is a woman’s touch, bringing together an aesthetic which combines edgy tailoring with bright colours – culminating in a fresh and modern street style which is both aspirational and accessible.
Rebecca explains where her inspiration came from for this style, citing a fascination with the 1940s zoot suit from Harlem. It is here where two worlds collide and we see New York meets London in her pieces. Her muse is Peter Jensen, the Danish-born designer known for his playful designs with bold colours, though there is no doubting that Rebecca’s design’s hold their own distinct style.
Like fashion, music is also a passion of Rebecca’s – both are artforms, both are forms of expression, and it is at festivals and gigs where the two meet in perfect synergy. ‘Festivals are the ideal place to create an identity which you might be afraid to try when you’re in your usual everyday environment. They can be the perfect place to experiment and draw inspiration from other people’s clothes.’
For Rebecca, clothes are ‘an identity statement’ and she uses the hybrid of casualwear and formalwear to create collections which are contemporary for the youth of today – an identity which will hopefully come to be specifically associated with Rebecca S. Young in the years to come.