“The lockdown forced me to be contemporary.” – Luke Derrick
Straddling between formality and informality, cardigan jackets and flares combine with cargo trousers and PJ shirts in a collection that fits the post-pandemic world like a glove. All in an array of high-quality fabrics that go from Cotton-Nylon ripstop, duck canvas and silk to Hainsworth merino melton, also used in the ceremonial uniforms worn during Queen Elisabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
“[Upon finishing university] You feel incredibly fearful about missing the momentum.” – Luke Derrick
“Lockdown forced me to be contemporary,” says Derrick. “To get back to clothes but in a way that feels innovative, responsive and zeitgeisty.” That’s exactly why he had to reassess what men would wear in and out of their homes. Inspired by the clothes inside his own wardrobe, he carefully planned every single detail of an effortless yet rigorous collection suitable for all sorts of events, from a morning brunch or a fancy evening dinner to a casual Zoom meeting at 3PM.
Post-graduation life feels like an abyss. Wondering what to do next is what haunts most designers once they finish education. “You feel incredibly fearful about missing the momentum,” he says. But Derrick’s case differed from most of his classmates since an internship at Dunhill during the first few months after graduation kept the designer occupied. And so did a collaboration with Oliver Sweeney, for which he designed an incredibly timely shoe for 2020 – a cowboy-inspired calf leather mule. “I felt incredibly lucky to have something to do and keep going with it. Everyone was sat on their ass for a few months.”
“You still have that industry access and access to internships, but I think that hierarchy is going. Everyone seems sick of it.” – Luke Derrick
Despite the apparent success, landing a job during such tumultuous times became an arduous task. “There are way too many graduates and not enough jobs,” he explains. With endless fashion designers graduating every year and just a few positions available, the job market feels more saturated than ever. And not even CSM’s renowned reputation is of help anymore, apparently. “You still have that industry access and access to internships, but I think that hierarchy is going. Everyone seems sick of it.”
Despite the initial frustration, Derrick didn’t give up. He took the plunge to start his own fashion label – DERRICK – in an attempt to fill in the gap between traditional tailoring and the out-there fashion often seen in London, creating fashion-forward pieces that draw on his beloved Oxonian roots. “I spent my MA trying to become employable. I got employable and then I had to unlearn it all to become my own agent,” he says. “At least I have agency over what I publish now, what I create goes towards my portfolio.”