Interview: Nadine Peters

February 22, 2013

After spending a week in London with some of the coolest designers in the game for our FADER #84 feature on UK streetwear, we had so many good chats with so many good people that not everything could possibly make it into the magazine. Here, we're running extended interviews with some of our favorite designers, like Nadine Peters, whose classic collection was inspired by her grandpa.

What inspired the collection? A book called Black House by Colin Jones. It’s just a house in London where a lot of black people lived in the 1970s. Most of them ran away from home because they came from an abusive home. And it’s just to see the way they were dressed and things like that, the way they lived.

[caption id="attachment_242616" align="aligncenter" width="620" caption="Nadine Peters. Photograph by Jackie Dewe Mathews."][/caption]

Then I shot the lookbook at my grandparents' house. It was me and my granddad, and he’s an old man so he was just being himself. My grandparents are from Grenada. My mom is from London; she was born here. My dad is from Barbados; he came here when he was 15. My grandpa is like my style icon. He used to be a tailor. He worked for a home tailor shop in Grenada. He’s got an old sewing machine, but it’s really hard to use because you have to keep going with your foot, back and forth, back and forth.

Did your grandpa like the collection? Yeah, yeah!

As contemporary as your clothes are, they feel almost old-world, classic. Yeah, my grandpa inspires me. There's eyeglasses in the collection, because he wears eyeglasses. I think it’s just my family, like I really want to pay homage to my family because my aunty worked retail and then she went to America, went to New York, and she was working for designers and so forth. Then she fell pregnant, so she didn’t do it any longer, which is a shame. And then my uncle had a furniture shop. All kinds of design that we have in our family, and I was just trying to express some of that really.

Do you consider your clothes streetwear? I don’t think there’s anything with streetwear. Like streetwear back in the day was probably like, people doing skateboarding and things like that. Now I think whatever we wear is considered streetwear. The biggest fashion shows are on the street, you know what I mean? The reason why I wanted to have the jumpers or the fabric that was like sweats was I wanted to have a relaxed element to it. Comfortable. I didn’t want to have it be too stiff. I don't make sweatpants, I make trousers that kind of look like sweatpants. When I did the pattern and designed it, I was like, Well, that’s really what that man would wear. He wouldn’t wear a tracksuit, he would wear something that looks like a tracksuit, because he’s grown. It’s all a trick and a play of the eye.

What other designers do you admire? I love Cassette Playa, personally. She’s just an amazing person, but I love her stuff as well. I like Martine Rose, Pringle of Scotland. Casely-Hayford is just hands-down the best. I like the way they play with fabric. The fabric is always really cool.

Tell me about that crazy fur jacket you made [pictured above]. I just really wanted to use fur. I was listening to a lot of jazz and looking at Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miles Davis and the way they dressed, and they dressed kind of minimal, but the most interesting thing about them was their talent. And the ‘70s says sex to me, you know what I mean? It just oozes sex, and I think fur is the best way to do a badass coat. It was like a Martin Scorcese film, you know? The guy walks in, he's got a jacket on, he's walking through the club, and people are like, Wow. There's women everywhere, and there’s cocaine.

Posted: February 22, 2013
Interview: Nadine Peters