Monday, 24 August 2009

Interview: Mrs Jones

I'm gonna come out and say it: fashion does bore me sometimes. When I read too many magazines, and fashion blogs, and see people's work, I have this sick feeling that, apart from a select few, everyone's doing the same thing and re-using the same ideas over and over without making any effort to challenge themselves.... and that sucks. I know I'm definitely not a very creative person, but I do like to think I'm constantly learning and challenging myself - and it's terrible to feel sometimes that there's not much to be inspired by out there.

But thank god I found Mrs Jones, aka Fee Doran, the woman responsible for Oxfam latest venture, Camden's DIY boutique. I've mentioned her before in this blog, when I was researching influentil stylists:
she is a designer/stylist and creator of some of the most iconic ensembles in the world of pop music (I bet she is sick of being associated with the "white hooded catsuit," but it did made her famous), and her aparent lack of self-consciousness and endless creative energy seemed fascinating to me. Since she is also the author of a quote that changed my perspective in this scenario ("I hate fashion. I love clothes"), I've taken upon myself to ask her a few questions. It was quite difficult, seeing that now she is really busy taking Oxfam DIY to festivals (she has workshop tents - check her out if you're going to Bestival), but right after Glastonbury she sat down and replied to my email.

Here is the result.

(This interview was originally published at in portuguese)

Congratulations on your work with Oxfam DIY, it's absolutely inspiring! How has it been collaborating with them so far? How was Glastonbury?

I'ts been brilliant, tons of hard work but so worthwhile so you dont mind as much. In fact, I have to say they are the best clients I've ever worked with - though maybe that's because I normally work with popstars. It has been at lot of fun too, Oxfam really does rule, Glasto was the icing on the cake! So many amazing people who got involved in the whole DIY thing, amazing creations were flying out of the Oxfam tent, there was a brilliant buzz.

The celebrity world has been dominated by stylists who are more worried about 'getting it right' than being creative. You are among the few ones who remain truth to originality. Do you think a backlash will eventually happen?

I think it already is happening. The past few years we have been influenced by the likes of
Beckhams, gossip mags tearing all and sundry apart, high-gloss photo retouching bollocks,
properly the 80's influence on fashion. Whereas now there's definitely a 90's vibe happening, a lot more grungy than glossy. Also we are so saturated by high street, theres a definite revolt in the air, people want to look differen, or rather add their own slant to things, which is all good in my books.

I'm sure your inspiration comes from all kinds of sources, but do you actually have special things and tricks that kick-start your imagination? What's your starting point when you start working with an artist/ band?

My starting point is finding out how that person ticks, what gets them excited, whether it's a film, art, you name it. I normally get them to send me inspiration of some kind, just sitting and chatting to that person helps. You have to form a bit of a friendship to understand what they want and to get them to do what you want.

Do you ever think about designing a ready-to-wear line? Do you think fashion doesn't give you space for creativity the way music do?

I have done ready-to-wear in the past but nothing looked quite right - bit to0 small here and there, slightly the wrong colour, a bit tight on the volume front. Maybe that's just because I've never had the dosh to spend on great big factory orders. As soon as factories are mentioned it gives me a shudder, actually, though I would love my clothes to be available in shops rather than sad copies. I just can't deal with that side of it, I'm a dyslexic blonde artist from Essex after all.
One day very soon I shall have my own Mrs Jones shop and all will be welcome.

Yes, I have to admit the music industry does allow my creative juices to flow, I've been lucky enough to work on some pretty out there stuff, which often creates fashion rather than follow it. Plus a pop video is so much quicker than a fashion show, but in fact does the same job
without half the poncing around.

What's the difference to you between working with fashion designers/ non-music clients, and working with musicians?

Every one is so different , just depends upon the client - though music has better looking men so I guess it makes work slightly more enjoyable.
What's your favourite bands / artists? And which artist or band was your favourite to dress to this date?

Anything that's ballsy I suppose. Growing up I loved Blondie, Grace Jones, Roxy Music, Queen, Run DMC. I love so much music I find it hard to name a favourite, same with the bands and artists I work with. I love them for lots of different reasons, though of couse without Kylie trusting in me don't know what i'd be up to.

Who is your favourite(s) fashion designer(s), and why?

I hate this question only because I never know what anyone else does! I stay clear of fashion mags, unless I need images for moodboards. I like different bits I see, but I think my favourite is Jean-Paul Gaultier. I met him once when I left college. I had a little unit in Kensington Market, it was so small only one person could fit in at a time. Mr Gaultier spotted my brightly coloured little hole and entered. He bought a top off me and said he loved my designs
and that one day I'd be very famous. It was a fairy godmother moment."Tis a job" was going through my head, but my mouth was fixed in a smile position and I couldn't speak.

Are there any people working in the same field as you that you admire? Or find interesting/inspiring?

There are tons of people I find inspiring, lots who are now good friends. Tiff McGiniss is the most inspiring woman ever, her stuff is incredible, from music to visuals and graphics and I would love to see her stuff on fabric! Check her out, she goes under the name of Crazy Girl. Another is a guy called Andy Soup, a video director whom I've worked with. His stuff is so on it and always full of fun, I'm always inspired by his work. Another is Beardyman, I could watch him for hours and again, he is hilarious. Talent and humour are wonderful ingredients mixed together, and I think that's my inspiration.

Are there any artists you would love to dress?

Missey Elliot always comes to mind when I'm asked this. I think I would just love to see her sexed up in some heels. Eminem would be a good one, and there's no point saying Gwen Stefani though I would love to work with her. But she looks so incredible, there's nothing I could improve on. Maybe BeardyMan one day when he's got over his "styling" experience, which wasn't me I might add...

What you're up to now? Any new projects?

Oxfam is still going on, I have more festivals to do. The Killers are always needing something new - though you wouldn't believe the amout of times Brandon has worn his feather jacket. I've made so many different ones for him in the same vein. It's sweet, really, like a kid with a fave teddy.

Also had a call from Kanye West recently saying he would like to work with me, which is so exciting I nearly fell off my chair, so watch out for that one. And finally there's my dream, my Mrs Jones shop which is slowly becoming a reality. Lots of exciting good stuff on the horizon and I've never kissed ass once - feeling proud.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to learn about her. Thanks for posting this!