In mid-2006 Tim Soar launched his namesake menswear label TIM SOAR and has had audiences in awe ever since. "For a year or two I had felt an increasingly strong urge to move into fashion design. I felt that I had something to say about modern menswear, that it was time to move on from the flippant to something more serious. I set out to produce clothes that are a synthesis of minimalism and the avant garde made to the highest possible standards. My background in interior and graphic design meant I already had a strongly developed visual language, while my work with Music Concrete gave me numerous contacts within the fashion industry. My first collection (A/W06 Rat Pack/Reconstruction) consisted of deconstructed vintage suits. Matthew Murphy from B-Store brought some of the key pieces from this collection - and has continued to buy for subsequent seasons, Liberty brought my next Rockabilly inspired collection and thus I was hooked. I have been obsessed with fashion for more than 20 years, and now this obsession has an outlet. I am committed to making TIM SOAR a leading force in UK menswear."
How does London culture influence your designs? What specific qualities of London have had the biggest impact on you?
Well, it is that uniquely British/London mix of Fashion with a capital 'F' and street /vintage/thrift style. I have always loved old clothes as much as new ones. And, clothes wise, that is special to London.
That influence is there to be seen in my collections. Obviously, I am strongly influenced by the whole music/fashion axis, too.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started. I understand that in 1997 - you set up the music consultancy agency Music Concrete. How did this experience come about?
I had been working in graphics for seven or eight years it wasn't quite doing it for me. At the same time I had been moonlighting as a dj, playing at both extremely fashionable - Babes in Toyland/The
Saint/Hollywood Babylon - and extremely grungy - The Monarch in Camden - venues. I was asked to dj at the launch of the Met Bar/Metropolitan Hotel in late' 96/early '97. This was the first boutique hotel in London with a very strong design aesthetic, and as soon as I saw it I realised that the music should be treated in the same way as all other aspects of the hotel's design i.e. it should be considered, fit in
with what the hotel was about, be consistent with the other design elements while still being cool! This was the first time a company had been set-up to do this in the UK. Following on from the Met, the
Schrager hotels and Great Eastern quickly followed.
What new artists are currently on your radar?
Bloody hell, there are loads. In no particular order. The Big Pink, Pluramon, Sunny Days Sets Fire, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, the new Phoenix is great. There are so many.
In 2006, after toying with many different industries, you launched your menswear label TIM SOAR. What was the motive behind launching your namesake label?
Well, arrogance and cash, mostly. I was convinced that I had an angle that was different from what else was going on - there were no grown up, very well made, minimal but cool men's labels in London. I still think that is the case - other than TIM SOAR, of course. Secondly, I had some money burning a hole in my bank account so I could afford to produce collections at a much higher level than would have been possible if I was starting from scratch. The reality is there are lots of good designers in the UK, but the business model for fashion is so f***ed that is is extremely difficult to get off the ground without some other form of income.
What changes have you noticed from your first collection (Rat Pack/Reconstruction) to your current designs?
Hmm, it was lucky I was arrogant when I started, because if I knew then how much I didn't know, I would never have got going at all. RAT PACK/RECONSTRUCTION was based on a series on mint late 50s and early 60s suits that I had got my hands on. Each garment was partially taken
to bits and remade. Then supporting pieces where made from scratch. The beauty of this was that I could really experiment with ides without worrying overly much about how I was going to get things made. The very bad point was when Matt from B-Store placed an order and I had to try to work out how to replicate these garments for production. Now, to a degree, I have my own language which is becoming stronger each season. When I am doing my job right, my pieces fee like TIM SOAR
and no one else.
What do you think separates your label from other menswear designers currently in market?
I am certainly part of a new group of UK menswear designers - Carolyn Massey, Lou Dalton, Omar Kashora, JW Anderson, Christopher Shannon, etc. And I know how hard it is to be an independent designer in the current climate, so I have the utmost respect for all my contemporaries for just getting up in the morning and carrying on. Objectively, I think the TIM SOAR is more grown up than many of my contemporaries. I would say that my make and fabrics are probably better than most, too. I would definitely say my shows are the most coherent of any of my contemporaries - thanks Jodie Barnes. Finally, I am not afraid to be subtle. One benefit of not coming form a fashion college background is that I do not feel obliged to design the life out of every garment. Less is very often more.
You home was recently featured on The Selby. How would you describe your living quarters in 5 words?