British Fashion Awards Exclusive: Peter Pilotto Talk Career Advice, Rihanna And Red Carpet Dressing

We chat to the award nominees about how they took the Peter Pilotto brand global…

The annual celebration of the best of British design talent, the British Fashion Awards are upon us once again. And for Peter Pilotto, it’s an extra special occasion. Nominated for the New Establishment Award which recognises a designer taking the global industry by storm, co-founders and designers Christopher Vos and Peter Pilotto talk to us about taking their once student brand to the international stage and picking up an A-list following along the way…

What have been your highlights of the year?
Christopher: Winning the BFC/ VOGUE Fashion Fund back in January was an amazing way to start the year. It is such an honour for us to be recognised alongside previous winners such as Christopher Kane, Erdem and J.W. Anderson.
Peter: We received both financial support and mentoring and this has really helped us to develop and structure our company over the last year, which has been very exciting. The shows are always highlights too – we had fantastic feedback from both our AW14 and SS15 collections, which is incredibly rewarding.

How did you start your business and how have you navigated its switch from start-up to global brand?
Peter: We both studied at Antwerp together but I graduated the year before Christopher, I was approached by some stores who wanted to buy my graduation collection and so I started producing some pieces under my name. Christopher moved to London a year later and I decide to go too and it was then that I asked him to help me with the brand. We had always admired each other’s work, I think there was almost a bit of competitiveness between us! We both have different strengths but ultimately the same taste, so we work well together.
Christopher: Time has gone so quickly! Last year we moved in to a new studio five times the size of our old studio and we have quadrupled the amount of employees we had in comparison to two years ago! Sometimes it feels quite surreal but we’re really happy and the fast pace nature of the industry means we barely have time to think about the shift!

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to build-up a business?
Peter: Patience…
Christopher: Hard work and also having a good team around you is really important – we are very lucky.

You’ve been nominated for the New Establishment Award at the British Fashion Awards which is a great honour – what do you think is the key to your success?
Christopher: We are really excited to be nominated, it has been such a fantastic year for us, win or lose, just to be nominated is a great way for us to end the year.
Peter: We work very hard on the design and silhouette of our clothes to ensure they are as flattering as possible but also to ensure that they standout and make the women that wear them feel both sexy and cool.

What inspires you and your designs?
Christopher: We are inspired by a lot of things and it does seem to change each season. We always find travelling very inspiring, we do a lot of research in books and on the internet but seeing things with our own eyes is always best. We try to take at least one big trip a year, this year we went to Columbia and Ecuador.
Peter: We are also very inspired by art, sometimes a period and other times a particular artist. We always try to go to exhibitions and we have lots of friends in the art world. It is a real passion of ours. Nature is something that I find we go back to again and again each season for inspiration as well.

Your designs are often worn on the red carpet – who have been your highlights?
Peter: It’s really hard to say! We never know in advance who is going to wear our clothes, so it is always a complete surprise which is nice. Rihanna, is probably a stand out moment for us as she was one of the first ladies to wear us but really every moment is special.
Christopher: We love Cate Blanchett, we thought she looked so beautiful and we were very excited to see her in Peter Pilotto!

Is there anyone you want would to dress?
Christopher: We love seeing our friends and people we know in our clothes, it’s fascinating to us to see how they wear and style the pieces. Red carpet dressing is amazing but there is something very special about seeing a woman look so natural in your designs in her everyday life.

Check back on the 2nd December for all the winners and red carpet highlights from the British Fashion Awards…

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