Lightening Round With Designer Simon Spurr

by The Fashion Informer SOURCE The Fashion Informer
Photo Credit: courtesy of Getty

You'd think that someone who was just nominated for the 2011 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award would have been planning his ascension up the fashion ladder since he was still in short pants. Think again.

"I actually fell into fashion—it wasn't that premeditated," said Simon Spurr, he of the recent, much deserved CFDA nomination. "I could just as easily have decided to become a car designer or an architect. I hope that I get a chance to experience another form of design (maybe furniture) as the brand evolves."

And evolve it has. Since launching the denim line, Spurr, in 2006 (following stints designing menswear at YSL, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren) the dapper Brit was a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist in 2009; introduced the refined, sharply tailored Simon Spurr ready-to-wear range in fall 2010; and currently has a high-profile collaboration in the works, though he  demurred when asked for details. "We are talking to a major celebrity about doing something together, but it's in the initial phase and just too early to discuss right now," he told us. "Sorry, I know that's a tease." Indeed it is. But we trust, given Spurr's background and taste level—and fans such as Justin Timberlake and Zac Efron—that it's of the A-List (rather than Lo-han) variety. 

The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden chatted with the Manhattan-based designer earlier this month in a conversation that ranged from skateboarding to sleep to independent ear wiggling (he's a whiz at all three, apparently).

So, Simon...

What did you do last weekend and what are your plans for this weekend?
I flew home from Italy (having put the Spring 2012 collection into work) and am flying back to Italy this weekend.

Favorite time of day?
Either the beginning or the end of the day. I'm up early in the morning, around 6:15 a.m., to get to the gym. There's no one around, and I love New York when it’s quiet. In contrast, I love the end of the day when I get into bed, and my body can finally relax.

When you were 9, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Probably a professional skateboarder. I skated for almost 10 years (street). At that age, it consumed me almost as much as my job does today.

Do you have any hidden or unusual talents?
I'm a pretty good darts player; I even play in a New York league - A division. And I can move my ears independently. Is that a talent?

Best thing about living in New York?
Definitely the energy. You can achieve anything here. The doors are open to anyone who wants to succeed.

Worst thing about living in New York?
Also the energy. New York operates at such a fast pace that it's hard to balance work and personal life. I think living and working here can result in producing quite a few burned out people that eventually have to start families when they are in their forties.

When was the last time you rode the subway?
Yesterday. I take the subway three days a week. The other two days I take a cab with my Rhodesian Ridgeback. I take the 1/2/3 train from 103rd to 23rd street when going to work. Riding the subway allows me to access random inspiration from passengers. Patterns. Color combinations. International style from tourists. Staying in touch with street style is very important to me.

You're married to a doctor. What's the best medical advice your wife has given you? 
Stop drinking beer! Like my mother, I think I'm intolerant to wheat and gluten. Drinking a lot of beer irritates my stomach (and my head), and apparently every time your stomach gets irritated, it promotes an unwanted environment for cancer. So I cut back.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A large coffee. Typically I don't eat breakfast. I know that's bad, but I can't eat before the gym and then never find the time before work.

What's your favorite store in the world and why?
I don't have one (yet).

What constitutes the perfect pair of sunglasses?
Quality, no brash logos and timelessness.

Brunch: pro or con?
More of a con than a pro. I'm an early bird so by the time most people "brunch," I've already eaten. I find it breaks up the day in the wrong place

What do you look for in a model when casting your shows?
Confidence and British swagger. The way the guy walks is almost more important than their appearance sometimes.

Tell me about your pet(s).
Apollo is our 3-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. He's pretty quiet and loves to be around people, kids and other dogs. He has a love for expensive shoes and Italian furniture (shreds them when I go out of town) but despises the rain.

What freaks you out?
Incompetency or when I have to repeat myself. I like to think of myself as being pretty mellow, but the average attention span of most people is extremely low.

When are you happiest?
No doubt about this: when I get into bed. Sleep is the biggest and most valuable luxury I have and desire. No emails, phone calls, etc. I can detach from the world and recharge.