Simon Waller, Menswear Designer

Simon Waller, Menswear Designer

Simon Waller knows a fair bit about style. Having previously co-founded high-end label Christopher Waller, Simon is currently working as Menswear designer for Daks. He discusses his own style with us and talks to us about riding the city of London and working for a premium brand with such a rich heritage.

Please tell us a little about your career and how you got into it?

Since I've been in fashion I have been bouncing between womenswear and menswear. I now seem to have finally settled with menswear, and I'm very comfortable with that.

My university BA was Fashion Design with Marketing. It's amazing how useful the marketing section has been. At the time, I despised it. All I wanted to do was the raw design work, but you soon realise how the marketing, underpins everything that I was doing creatively. This was particularly relevant when I started my own label.

Where do you take inspiration from for your designs?

Anywhere and everywhere. Seasonal themes start us off in different directions each season. From there it is about layering and reworking the research in a way that relates to the collection and the customer. It’s a very exciting time of the season.

Daks is a premium brand. What differentiates your designs from those of the high street?

The immense heritage of the brand is incredible and this is something that can't be bought by a new brand entering the menswear arena. Our archive shows the rich history of who we are and the journey that the brand has come. The journey brings experience, which the team puts into every aspect of the clothes, from details on the trousers to the functional design of the outerwear. The quality of fabric has also always been how we differentiate ourselves.

How would you describe your style?

I like to combine clean shapes and colours with one stand out piece of outerwear/ tailoring to provide a hint of Britishness but in a modern way. I travel a lot so function and weight of fabric is important. These days people want their clothes to be light enough to carry or stuff into a hold all, technical to keep them warm/ cool and dry, and to still look good on. In short I would say, clean and simple with a nod to British heritage. 

Where is your favourite place or route to cycle?

London is an exciting place to cycle, but you have to concentrate a lot and it keeps you on your toes. Getting out to the peaceful Kent countryside on the weekend keeps the balance.

What is the most important feature of cycle wear for you?

In the summer, it’s breathability. In the winter it’s Lights. You also don’t want to be able to get off your bike and walk into a pub looking like a MAMIL. (Middle aged man in lycra.) Its not a good look.

What tip would you give to a new cycling commuter in London?

Without sounding like my dad, I’d say three. 1) Wear a helmet. I’ve been hit a couple of times and it has helped keep me alive. 2) Don’t wear headphones. You need all your senses cycling in London. 3) Don’t get greedy. If you can squeeze through the buses/ run a red light to save yourself 5 seconds, don’t bother. 

Quick-fire: 

What bike do you currently ride?

Ribble Pista

What is your favourite cycling clothing label?

Gore

Who’s your favourite person to cycle with?

Cycling with my girlfriend through London on the weekend. Also cycling down to Brighton with friends for fish and chips on the beach!

I couldn’t live without my...

Garmin GPS, LUMO rucksack.