At a time of too much information and sensory overload, Richard Quinn gets his message across with collections that draw on history, sustainability, societal issues and the latest technology, all with subtlety and style.
At his spring show in September, Quinn held his audience in thrall as models clad in shimmering couture-inspired silhouettes walked the runway to music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. By the end, the audience was blinking away tears.
Quinn said he wanted classical sounds because, “I was trying to react against what is going on right now with all the hard, techno music, and maybe bring it back to glamour and women feeling like women and wanting a desirable dress without feeling bad about it.”
Quinn also drew attention to a decline in funding for arts education in the U.K. by inviting teenage art pupils from the schools he had attended, as well as print students from Central Saint Martins, and their teachers, to sit in the front row.
At the fall 2018 show, it was the Queen who appeared in the front row, handing Quinn the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The award is given to an emerging British designer who shows exceptional talent and originality while demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies.
Last year he won the H&M Design Award and has been working with Epson’s Surecolor system, incorporating digital technology to create his own styles. He has also been opening his studio — and its printing capabilities — to fellow designers.
The London-born designer established his namesake label in 2016, just after graduating with a master of arts in fashion from Central Saint Martins, benefiting from a scholarship from the Stella McCartney Foundation. Quinn is stocked at stores including Matchesfashion.com, Lane Crawford and L’Eclaireur and has collaborated with Debenhams on a collection of dresses, with Liberty on accessories and with Matches on a bold patchwork of printed separates.