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Talent Emerging: Oscar Quiroz

Hailing from Barnet on the outskirts of London, Oscar Quiroz decided that a career in financial forecasting would be unsatisfying. Instead, he went on to enrol at Central Saint Martins in order to make clothes like the creations produced by his idols, namely Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane. For Quiroz, there is no such thing as a design signature, or staple piece that you would recognise in his work. His focus on change is what inspires each individual collection, although it has to be said he has a certain spark when it comes to knitwear. Inspired by anything from his half-bolivian, half columbian roots through to the people in London in cafes, Quiroz’s designs are perfect for the indecisive person constantly seeking something new. Planet Notion caught up with the young designer to find out what we can expect in the future.

PN: Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up?
OQ: I grew up in a little suburb of London called Barnet, not much happened. I had a very normal childhood I guess, very much into books and magazines; I didn’t really go out, as I didn’t have a lot of friends.

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PN: How did you get into fashion and begin your own label?
OQ: When I was 18 I had a summer job in Harvey Nichols, in London. It was 2000, and they had just received Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. I just suddenly became interested and wanted to know more about the people as well as the clothes. It felt a lot more personal than other clothes I had seen or worn as a kid before – Raf Simons for me made me want to quit my degree as a financial forecaster and somehow make clothes.

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PN: Describe the aesthetic behind the label?
OQ: It s actually really hard for me, I’ve realised over the years that I have more than one personality, and it is really evident in my clothes. The first season I did which was with Fashion East, I was just starting out, and it was based on the use of Silk Satin in menswear and Bolivia, which is half a part of my background, using very muted tones and luxurious materials. Then the next season was aquatic prints and topical colours with lots of hot pink and emerald colours and then the following winter was inspired by the restrained elegance of the Orthodox Jewish community in North London. Most recently, Hannah Hoch and magic mushrooms inspired SS14. Each season, the colours, shapes and textures change, but I guess there’s still a tiny thread that goes through it that shows it’s me, people change, so do styles and so do I.

PN: You previously worked for Russell Sage and Ann Sofie Black, did you feel like your work experience really gave you a good platform when setting up your own brand?
OQ: What I loved about working for these designers, and also BLESS in Paris, was that they are seen by the world as avant garde, conceptual designers, yet they have been around and stood the test of time through recessions and tough global times. It’s inspiring to see that they have been successful in forging a career by doing things their way, creating clothes that maybe didn’t conform to the norm but people understood them and they were a success. And for a student who was graduating that was hugely inspiring to see, if I wanted to make a beach towel I could, if I wanted to make bed sheets I could.

PN: How much of a platform did Fashion East provide you and your work?

OQ: Fashion East was great because it gave me a platform to be seen by an audience that I would have never been able to get on my own, it was my first collection so I was a little daunted but I enjoyed the experience a lot.

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PN: How important is social media to your work?

OQ: Social media to some degree is really important for a brand that’s just starting out. I am totally aware that this is a very tough and saturated industry, so it’s nice to get a following who are interested in not only the clothes but the processes that go behind them and a little insight into the life of the brand, but on the other side, other designers don’t [even] have a Twitter or Facebook page or a website but still do well, and I hugely admire that too. It’s a double-edged sword. Sometimes I think that Twitter is for important spokespeople, who genuinely have something important to say and who can influence the masses for a positive change! Not a designer getting 2000 likes for posting a picture of a cake haha!

PN: What is your opinion on Menswear fashion at the moment; has LC: MENS really helped young menswear designers?

OQ: Menswear in London is fantastic! It goes from strength to strength and I think that’s because of the lovely designers that live here and also to the people at LC:M. It would be great to see the BFC and LC:M and all the other huge organisations pushing new designers in terms of just contact advice and information regarding spaces, venues, sponsorship programmes; more sharing of intelligence, and not just saving it for the big boys in the industry. However, fashion has always been a little cagey like that.

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PN: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
OQ: Dont eat yellow snow. No, really I guess it’s just the usual advice people are given. Always have faith and try your best.

PN: Describe the Oscar Quiroz man?

OQ: I don’t think I can! I guess it’s a man who changes his mind often, who probably has ADHD and is probably a little schizophrenic. Oh, and someone who likes a nice pocket.

PN: What has been a challenge in your career so far?

OQ: Well, without getting the violins out there have been a lot of challenges and there still are on regular occasions. I’m still very much starting out and want to expand a fair bit, I still have a long, long way to achieving the goals I have set up for this job.

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PN: Describe a day in the life for you?

OQ: Oh! Well at the moment it’s the lovely calm side of my job, the researching phase. So, I guess its wake up, have breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, go to library/studio, sketch search the web, go out, stay in, take pictures, sketch some more and prep for the final sketches and see how we can toile them into AW14.

PN: Do you have any advice for other emerging designers?

OQ: Stick at it.

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PN: What is inspiring you at the moment?

OQ: My friends, the people of tottenham, home to my new studio since this year, and possibly land art.

PN: What can we expect from Oscar Quiroz in the future?

OQ: An AW14 collection at least!

- Hardeep Gill

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