Founded in 2011 by Oliver Proudlock, Serge DeNimes is a British contemporary label of fashion and accessories. From graphic t-shirts, outerwear and denim, the brand spares no effort to conceive products of exceptional quality. More than just a clothing line, Serge DeNimes is an expression of urban lifestyle with high regard for artistic design. After an exclusive shoot for Chasseur, we sat down with Oliver for an interview where we discussed everything from his background and influences to his goals and upcoming projects.
How did you decide to get into fashion design, instead of pursuing a path in fine arts?
From a very young age, my two main passions in life have been fashion and art. They were the two constants in my life growing up with my mother, who was a designer as well as photographer. For her, creativity and style were two necessities in life, and this rubbed off on me massively. Fashion was more of a lifestyle thing, and art was something that I always studied. I excelled in art once I left school, and decided to specialise in Fine Art at Newcastle University. Although I didn’t study fashion design, it was in my blood and I always knew that I wanted to give it a go at some point. It wasn’t until I graduated from Newcastle, and moved back to London that I decided to make that leap of faith. Having studied art for years, I wanted to continue within a creative field but also wanted a slight change, so moving into fashion was a very organic and natural thing for me. That didn’t mean that it was easy, however, when you put yourself in the deep end, it is amazing how quickly you adapt, and learn to survive.
Has your ‘celebrity’ status in any way affected your ethos as a designer?
I don’t think it has affected me as a designer, or the ethos of the brand, which existed before I started doing any work in TV. Fashion has always been my number one passion, and, for this reason, I said from day one I cannot let anything get in the way, or affect the path, of the brand, or me as a designer. Being on TV has been an amazing experience; it’s given me a platform to help certain creative projects, and has definitely opened certain doors that may have been more difficult otherwise.
How important is your mother’s influence to your brand? The photographs of the Rio de Janeiro carnival in 1978 are hers, and they’re what initially inspired your original line.
From a design point of view, she had a massive influence on my first collection. As you say, the subject of the initial t-shirt collection was images taken from my mothers’ book, ‘Carnival in Rio 78’. The images have always been so inspirational to me. They embody one of the most amazing carnivals of the year, in my favorite city in the world, Rio De Janeiro. The brand has developed a lot since then from a design point of view, but my mum is always a creative inspiration for me no matter what it is I do.
The brand strives to create an artistic community. Is this the specific clientele, to which you’re striving to appeal?
I think in today’s creative industry there are so many young individuals, who have so much talent, but don’t have the platform to showcase it. For me, since day one, I have always wanted to bring together a young artistic community, acting as a platform for their talents through things like our Serge Meets.I want to appeal to young fashion conscious individuals, who are out there, attempting to develop their own style.
The website So Serge is destined to illustrate how your brand goes beyond the clothes. It’s also a lifestyle, how crucial is this aspect for you and why?
For me the Serge DeNimes lifestyle is key, as this embodies the ethos behind Serge and all of what we stand for. The products are of course what you can wear and feel, but to understand the brand, and become a part of it, you have to understand the lifestyle. I don’t want people to just wear Serge, I want them to become a part of our creative journey.
I am a big fan of Chasseur magazine, so I was very excited for the opportunity. I love getting in front of the camera from time to time and doing editorial shoots, so it was a lot of fun. I have worked with the photographer John Cronin, as well as the stylist, so it was great to catch up with them and get creative. On the day it was extremely cold, but everyone pulled through, and I am really happy with the final photographs. Hope you guys like them too!
We sure do! Finally, a few words on what’s next?
We are just about to release the Serge DeNimes SS15 collection, which is exciting, as I believe it is the best collection we have done to date. In addition, we are releasing our first women’s collection this year. We also have a couple of collaborations lined up, but I will hold off announcing these. From a personal point of view, I have a few exciting design collabs in the pipeline including a glasses range and a hat collection with a very talented young designer.
Photography | John Cronin
Styling | Rickardo Maxwell
Hair | Narad Kutowaroo
Fashion | Serge DeNimes, Diesel, Soulland, NEUW, Hammond & Co.