26 Aug. 2010

DESIREE MEJER ON FAKE LONDON

Fake London, the label that was very much part of shaping British pop culture in the 1990s, is back on the map after a few years out of circulation. Now owned by Italservice, founder Desiree Mejer once again is in charge of the creative direction of Fake London. SI caught up with Mejer in London where she talked about the relaunch and her attempts bringing the label back to its roots.

Describe the new era Fake London.

In essence, the label’s values and creative profile are the same as before, and the British spirit is still very important. Even though the label is now produced in Italy, it’s still very much a British brand. Looking closely, you’ll see that the label has grown up and become more sophisticated, but without being stiff or conservative. When we first launched in 1997, the tone was a bit jokey, whereas now I’d rather describe it as witty and clever.

For the SS11 collection, you drew inspiration from a British, posh traveller stopping off in Tangier, and the result is a witty collision of cultures with a bohemian edge. How do you arrive at the collection themes in general?

I always draw inspiration from real life and true experiences. My close friends and their families inspire me, and the collections I design always reflect the life I live. It’s an autobiographical approach that traces a real narrative, and therefore it’s always credible. I’d never reference some farfetched story or latch on to a contrived trend to conceive a new collection, and I always envision the clothes to be worn by someone I know.

Fake London offers both menswear and womenswear. How do the two lines complement each other, and might you push one line more than the other in the future?

I’ve always enjoyed designing menswear but I love designing for women too, so the two lines will get an equal amount of attention. Sometimes there’s a cross-pollination between the two ranges, and some features might appear in both collections if the details in question work well for both men and women.

Who’s the typical Fake London customer of today?

We consider our customer to be an intelligent person with an independent mind.  The old customers are still with us, and they’re very happy that we’re back. But we’ve also attracted a new customer base that’s excited over having discovered something new, yet that has a history to it. Fake London helped to shape British pop culture of the 90s, and in that respect the label exudes an underground air with a heritage that is real, and is not based on a story made up by a marketing team.

Lastly, where do you see the brand in five years’ time?

I see it growing in a very organic way. We’re not about churning out products for the sake of it, and we don’t want to “explode” the brand with licence deals and other means of quick expansion. Instead, it will evolve slowly and precisely, and we plan to open a headquarter in London to reinforce the British aspect of the brand. Eventually, we’d love to introduce a proper line of accessories and footwear, but not until the time is ripe. A big plus is that Italservice—our new investor—don’t put any pressure on us to expand quickly; they understand the importance to re-establish Fake London organically and carefully.
Emma Holmqvist

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