Who started it?
Gareth Pugh was born in 1981 in Sunderland, England. Encouraged by his mother to pursue dance, Pugh instead found he was more interested in the costumes. He worked as a costume designer at the National Youth Theatre in London for three months when he was only 14.
'Being in London by myself at such a young age and being surrounded by peers who were interested in the same things as me helped me realise that I wanted to pursue a career in costume and fashion design,' he says.
Pugh's graduation show from Central St Martin's College of Art and Design in London in 2003 captured the attention of senior fashion editor Nicola Formichetti from Dazed & Confused magazine. He put one of his creations on the magazine's February 2004 cover. In July, he joined the design team for luxury furriers Revillon with Rick Owens, who would later become Pugh's mentor and primary backer.
At the end of 2004, he showed at London club Kashpoint's Alternative Fashion Week, which garnered attention from the fashion press. Fashion East then invited him to show his collection at its February 2005 group show during London Fashion Week. To meet the deadline, he created his collection in just four weeks.
In 2005, he was asked to design several costumes for Kylie Minogue's Showgirls tour (he also designed costumes for her 2006 Homecoming tour) and landed a global advertising campaign for HSBC, which featured one of his illuminated costumes.
In February 2006, Pugh held his first solo runway show for the autumn/winter 2006 season during London Fashion Week. He was also named Young Designer of the Year at Elle Magazine's Style Awards in early 2007.
Since then, Pugh has shown both his spring/summer 2007 and autumn/winter 2007 shows in London.
Last year, Pugh's pieces became available for the first time in retail stores. His collection is now carried at fashionable boutiques around the world such as Colette in Paris, Browns Focus in London, Barneys New York and I.T in Hong Kong.
Pugh's graduation collection featured inflated balloons attached to models' limbs in a mostly monochromatic palette. His subsequent collections have been equally theatrical and flamboyant.
Calling his clothing 'fashion sculptures', Pugh often experiments with unusual materials such as synthetic hair, perspex, electrically charged plastic and more. He also uses unconventional forms and cuts that warp the shape of the human body.
His almost entirely black spring/summer 2008 collection was a camp affair with models decked out in Swarovski crystal-encrusted dresses with shredded sleeves and hems, fringed PVC pieces and a white mink stole made of white mice with red eyes. The silhouette was body-conscious with an extra emphasis on oversized shoulders and ultra-short skirts.
Where can I buy it?
Gareth Pugh is available in Hong Kong at all I.T outlets including Sino Plaza, Causeway Bay, tel: 2834 4056.