May 11, 2010 12:00AM

Menswear Gets Eary

The future of menswear looks eerie, at least if London-based designer Katie Eary has anything to say about it. Inspired by dark literary themes from the likes of George Orwell's Animal Farm and Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmares, Eary's designs would look equally at home on Napoleon era battlefields as they would in some radioactive vision of the future.

After graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, 2008, the young designer's first collection attracted international attention and was featured in magazines such as AnOther Man and VOGUE UK (in which Kate Moss donned her garments for a shoot with Mario Testino). Her fans include bloggers Diane Pernet of A Shaded View on Fashion and Susie Bubble of Stylebubble, Lady GaGa, Sienna Miller and Kelis, but Eary remains grounded, even if her head is up in the clouds or deep within a particularly twisted novel.

Oyster's Zac Bayly spoke to Eary about mutant menswear, underwear-design as an aphrodisiac and the ups and downs of being a piss-poor artist.

Zac Bayly: When did you first take an interest in fashion?
Katie Eary: When I was six. Dressing up was always on the agenda, not in a costume kind of way - more chic. It was an experimental time. I grew up on a council estate and we were really poor, but with a naturally glamorous Mother, I followed suit. Our weekends were spent making things and of course this included garments.

Was fashion design the only option for you?
I'm an artist. It would have always been this way, whether I were designing knickers or chairs. I can make anything.

What attracted you to, and why did you quit, underwear design before moving into menswear?
I wanted a hot boyfriend. Designing knickers sounded kind of cool... I thought I could sound interesting and thus net me a man. HAHA, how shameful! I quit because I was still single after a year... NO - not really. I quit because I hated it. It's a very strict discipline and I wanted to have a revolution. I didn't want to try and design a bra to correct back problems due to large breasts - so not my bag.

Tell us about your next collection? What's your favourite piece?
I can't tell you too much about my new collection! IT'S A HELLA MAD SECRET... The book is called BOY.

What inspires your designs, both generally and in terms of your latest collection?
Books - the last one being Marabou Stork Nightmare... I like to create something from scratch. You and I could read the same book and have a completely different vision, and that's what makes them such a good starting point!

You seem to love all things military, gore and science fiction... were you a tom boy when you were young?
HAHAHA!!! YES, yes i was. That's hilarious. I think I still am.

What are the best and worst things about being a young designer in London?
I feel like I'm living the piss-artist dream. I'm broke most of the time, but everyone is too. It's great fun. The worst part is when people befriend me because they think they may get something out of it. It's a bit weird, but luckily i have some amazing tight-knit friends, so I can avoid it.

What's the most important thing you've learned during your time in fashion?
Nothing is what it seems.

What's the worst thing that's ever happened before a runway show?
Getting a shit, chauvinistic business partner. But I can now say that I've been there, done that. NEVER again. I think new designers see it as a dream come true, but these sorts of people come with teeth. The best thing about a runway show is the day after - feeling untouchable - it's the best high.

Are you as dark on the inside as your designs are on the outside?

What's the grossest thing you've read or seen recently, and will it play a part in a future design?
I generally don't look for vile things. These things find me. My Dad just told me a story of when he went to some biker thing... This really fat biker in full leathers with mad long hair walked past him, and the guy had stretched a dead cat across the back of his leather jacket.

What's wrong with men's fashion today, and what would you change?
Haha. That's a hard question to pull out seconds before I'm about to leave this cafe. I think I'm doing my bit for men's fashion... what do you think?

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