Exclusive interview with fashion icon Fred Butler

Fred Butler in her studio in Dalston, London
Photo credit: Tom Oldham (March 2011)

With London Fashion Week just around the corner, excitement is rising at Sonos HQ as we gear up for Fred Butler’s upcoming presentation. In hope of a sneak peak, the Sonos crew ducked out for a quick chat with the fashion maven to get the inside scoop on the inspiration behind her presentation and how music is the future for fashion.

Sonos: How does music influence your creativity when working up designs for a new collection?

Fred Butler: In many different ways from simply effecting my mood in the studio whilst I work, through to approaches in mixing up layers of ideas to compile a final piece.  I like to play with humour, colour and proportion, which is a process I liken it to composing credible pop music – arranging the track from disparate instruments and incongruous sources with an instantly accessible and catchy result.
S: What was the motivation behind combining this year’s presentation with music?

FB: I am a frustrated musician.  If I didn’t work in visuals, I would actually love to convey my creative voice and message with a sonic language.   However I don’t know how to, so the next best thing is to collaborate with musicians and have that element key in my projects.  I am obsessed with music and it feels very natural for me to think about the audio soundtrack that would fit to the narrative of my accessories collections.  I devised a very complex concept for my degree show at graduate fashion week which I wasn’t able to implement so I’ve had years of frustration waiting to finally use this idea.  It’s still going to take some time but this presentation will be a little introduction and indication to that direction.
S: How do you see music influencing fashion in the future?

FB: When making fashion films, the music is integral to the emotion in the edit of the footage.  Each of my four films to date have been a success down to this factor and I intend to push and explore this element further.  It seems that more brands and labels are embracing this format to share their collections via online and social media so the whole industry is certainly going to expand in adopting the fashion film tool in marketing…which ultimately means more backing tracks!
S: What up and coming music act would you love to see wearing your designs?

FB: I’m really excited about the future of a producer/performer known as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs signed to Polydor.  His approach is very fun and reflects my outlook on enjoying experiences through dressing in an uninhibited and playful way.  He writes electronica but dresses like a tribal warrior from another dimension for his performances with dancers in dinosaur costumes. I’ve lent accessories to him since his first video and I can’t wait to see the debut album artwork and tour production!
S: What kind of music do you like listening to and do you have an ultimate favorite track?

FB: During the day I listen to Radio6 because it has the best DJ’s for informative new music, then I switch to “Kisstory” for some nostalgic 90’s old school tunes for an hour! In the evening I tune into Heart FM for “Club Classics” and the uplifting dance floor anthems.  I DJ myself and collect records to play which is a mix of ska, reggae, disco, r’n’b and hip hop – very eclectic but all upbeat!
S: How do you listen to music at home?

FB: I have a retro portable turntable with a built-in speaker unit to play my records on.  One day I hope to have 2 turntables and a mixer so I can practice mixing!

A big thanks to Miss Butler for taking the time to give us a glimpse into her musical inspiration. Does music inspire your style? Tell us about it below!