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SBc Interviews: Jack Hemingway from Hemingway Design

Its been a while since we interviewed someone on SchoolBoyCouture. As you all know one of my favourite footwear lines at the moment is Hemingway Design for Hush Puppies, and what better way to learn more about this iconic project than from Jack Hemingway who spearheads the re-design of this iconic brand. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about himself and the hard work that has gone into the re-invention of such an iconic American brand. SBc: Can you please introduce yourself? JH: My name is Jack Hemingway and I’m a 26 year old multi disciplinary senior designer, specialising in product, fashion, graphic, exhibition and event design at Hemingway Design, the company established by my parents Wayne and Geradine Hemingway. I spent my formative years surrounded by music, fashion and design whether it was hanging out in the Red or Dead warehouses, running wild during my parents London Fashion Week catwalk shows or marching around the family home in weird and wonderful outfits with my brother and sisters to Heaven 17’s (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang. In 2009 I turned The Tate Liverpool into a silent disco as part of their This is Sculpture Series, curating the exhibition Sculpture Remixed which featured works by Ron Mueck and Antony Gormley, set within a space more reminiscent of a 1970s New York discotheque than art gallery. I am one quarter Red Indian and the grandson of former World Wrestling Champion Billy Two Rivers... I’ve never met him though. I collect vinyl records and like to play them in dingy basements, loft spaces and studios.

SBc: What are the challenges towards re-designing an iconic brand like Hush Puppies? JH: Hush Puppies are a widely recognised brand that played a big role at pivotal time in British youth culture. Brands with a cool heritage often play on their provenance to give themselves depth and integrity. Dr Martens always refer to their Skinhead and Punk credentials. Fred Perry have their Mod history at their core. Hush Puppies can rightly claim to be the shoe of choice for the 1960s Mod... A distinctly British and frequently revisited look.

Hemingway Design specialise in looking at great moments in British design and popular culture and putting them into a modern context. This is exactly what we’re doing with Hush Puppies. The time is right for Hush Puppies to make a stylish resurgence.

SBc: Tell us a bit about Hemingway Design and the work that you do? JH: Hemingway Design is a multi-disciplinary design agency led by two generations of the Hemingway family and a wider team of talented designers. Good design and creative thinking can improve the things that matter most in life and can help solve social challenges. We specialise in affordable and social design, from furniture and interior decoration to housing, technology and fashion. Where does your inspiration stem from? Hush Puppies came to prominence at a pivotal time in youth culture , being recognized as a staple of the late 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll scene, as well as the shoe of choice throughout the 60s Modernist movement. The brand later became the essential footwear for the fashion conscious ‘lad’ of the 1980s. We took inspiration from Hush Puppies’ wonderful archive as well as our own personal collection. Whilst the collection does not replicate archive styles it does reference classic design detail from these three moments in British youth culture where we considered Hush Puppies to be ‘doing it well’.

SBc: Any designs in the collection you are particularly proud of? JH: I think the Whistle from the AW12 collection is a statement shoe which I hope will catch the attention of a more style conscious consumer, and the Vincent is a great addition to the SS13 men’s and womenswear collection. It’s fair to say that we’ve been pretty brave with our use of colour; we don’t like to play it safe.

SBc: What can we expect in the next collection? 
JH: We have identified mixed, contrasting material and bright colours as a strong trend for 2013, and in doing so, have introduced a woven suede, and bold but not overstated corresponding colours across the range. The Hemingway for Hush Puppies SS13 styles are a natural progression from our inaugural collection and the range features seven styles that take inspiration from a Teddy Boy classic – the Brothel Creeper, an alternative take on the Brogue, a Modernist bowling shoe, Chelsea and Desert boot plus the Casual‘s ultra cool suede loafer. We have developed two additional styles for the summer season as well carrying over a selection of styles including Tommy, Teddy, Quadro and Quiff from our AW12 collection; albeit with the addition of new tonal and subtly bright colours, minor pattern modifications and the introduction of woven suede.

We’ve been itching to have a crack at women’s, and for SS13 we will be introducing women’s sizes and colours in the Teddy and Quiff as well as the introduction of a classic tassel loafer. A full women’s collection will be available for AW13.

SBc: If you were on a space ship to Mars which 3 items would you carry with you and why? JH: Archie Bell & The Drells - Where Will You Go When The Party's Over (A Tom Moulton Mix) on 12 inch, an etch-a-sketch and business cards.

The collection is available for sale at select outlets online and  via the Topman General Store, London