We chat to Wynn about his journey into fashion, the importance of transparency as part of the ‘sustainability’ conversation, and finding the balance between creativity and functionality when designing his ranges.
How did you begin your journey in fashion, was this something you studied straight out of school and what are your earliest memories of your love for fashion?
I didn’t study fashion straight out of high school, I studied in another industry and found fashion a bit later! I do have a funny memory of my Mum’s actually - When I was a toddler, I was really interested in her clothes and what she was wearing - Once I actually refused to go out with her, because I didn’t like her outfit - I threw a tantrum.
What was the most pivotal factor that inspired you to begin your brand? Did you work under another label or design house or was it always your goal to create for yourself?
For me, starting the label wasn’t a conscious decision, I was always just making outside of work hours and I was very interested in the craft of fashion. A pivotal moment for Wynn Hamlyn was when stores picked up the clothes and wanted to buy them - I guess the label just started from there!
You’ve become known for your knitwear and suiting, and I heard your very first collection was knitwear you had made yourself. What do you love most about working with this textile?
My first collection was just knitwear - I love it because it can be complex and technical, or it can be very simple! Knitwear has become a central to the Wynn Hamlyn brand, and is a building block to each of our collections.
Let’s talk about transparency and how this, alongside making garments of high quality, are the two areas under the ‘sustainability’ conversation that you’re most passionate about.
Transparency is very important to us - We work with suppliers all around the world that we are very proud of. We’re continuously working on our supply chain, improving the transparency within it and communicating this with our customers.
Your pieces are made from a combination of natural materials and synthetic, what are your thoughts on fabrications and choosing to use synthetic materials for certain designs? Synthetic materials don’t always get a good wrap, but what are the benefits of incorporating these into your wardrobe
So synthetics definitely have their place - For me where I like to use synthetics blended with natural fibres to increase the longevity of the garment - for example a little bit of polyester in Wool Suiting keeps it looking crisp and new for a lot longer.
It’s been hard to forecast what the future looks like, and what we need from our clothes. How has your scope on design shifted over the last 12 months and who are you designing for now?
The last 12 months has definitely had a huge impact on the way that we are designing - We are still designing for the same person, it’s just their circumstances may have altered a little bit! We’ve definitely put less emphasis on occasion wear and more of the collection includes clothes that can easily slot into at home life - so knitwear for us, remains an incredibly strong category.
Wearability is a huge focus for your brand, with practicality a key design point. How do you find the balance between creativity and common sense when designing your ranges?
We design our ranges with practicality at the forefront - Interesting design elements and functionality definitely go hand in hand - Sometimes we need to work through pieces where the design impacts the wearability of the piece, this is always very considered in each piece of every collection.
Who are you go-to muses for when you’re designing? Do you have women and men in your life that you visualise in your pieces during the design phase?
I design for the people around me in my life, how they live and what they want to wear. I design for my wife, my mum, my sister and the people I work with. (The menswear I design for myself and what I want to wear.)
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
I do work a lot, however - when I’m not working, I love to just make stuff … I love DIY and just hanging out with friends.
What’s next for the brand that you’re able to share?
For us, we’re just continuing to carry on what we’re doing well - this year I’m particularly excited about the possibility of having a fashion show — which we haven’t been able to do for a while!