From Paris to Milan, Arena Magazine’s Fashion Director Andrew Davis has a front row seat to fashion! Casting models, sourcing the latest designs and styling shoots is all in day’s work at Britain’s monthly men’s style magazine. Here’s what he had to say…
How did you first get started working in the fashion industry?
I was working as a pastry chef in my home town of Manchester when I saw the footage of Neneh Cherry coming up through the floor at a Gaultier show. At that point I put my last tray of cakes in the oven, tucked a copy of Italian Vogue under my arm and headed to St Martins College in London.
You are judging the Topshop/MAN show at Fashion Week this year, what exactly do you look for in a new designer?
I look for designers who can create something new and interesting but in a thought-out way, never just being outrageous for the sake of it.
Men’s fashion is almost always over-shadowed by women’s, how can we tip the balance?
I think the scales have already become more balanced in recent years, with events like MAN in London helping, and New York now showing a host of exciting new menswear at fashion week.
Describe your own personal sense of style…
They call me ‘The Devil Wears Stussy’!
Have you ever made a style mistake that you really regret?
Not covering my school uniform in blue sequins because I didn’t have the confidence to at that point!
Who are your favourite designers?
I’m always really interested in what Rei Kawakubo does at Comme des Garçons, she really is a true visionary. And Raf Simons continues to create great collections for both his own label and Jil Sander. Miuccia Prada is another designer I admire for the originality of her ideas and her ability to be both cutting-edge and commercial at the same time.
Who should we look out for in the future?
I think Aitor Throup is going to get more and more influential as he starts working on more commercial projects and people become more exposed to his ideas and designs, and JW Anderson is also creating very thoughtful, carefully considered work.
Can you tell us what trends will be big for next season?
I think you’ll see a lot of relaxed, worn-out looking casual wear but made in luxurious expensive fabrics, as shown by the likes of Lanvin and Burberry.
What advice would you give someone who is struggling to make their mark in the fashion industry? Can you help?
All I’ll say is: if you can’t live without it, then keep at it!
Talk me through a typical day in your life working on the magazine? Is there a lot of time spent deciding the cover shoot?
I spend much of my time preparing shoots – briefing my assistants on what looks I want to create, working with model agencies on casting the right boys for the shoots, and meeting with potential new photographers to work with. There is also more of a business side which involves meeting with clients who work with the magazine. Every day is different. It’s always exciting in totally unexpected ways.
What’s the best thing about doing what you do?
Getting to meet and work with so many inspirational people and travelling to interesting locations.
Words by Afua Acheampong