The U.K.-born designer of Victorinox and his own label talks about his love affair with New York City, his flea-market finds and getting his running fix.
WWD: When did you first come to New York?
Christopher Raeburn: The first time was back in 2010 when I came to do the first installation for Victorinox. Every time I come here, I see how things change very, very quickly. I absolutely enjoy the mix of cultures, the retail and the way everything grows and changes at such pace.
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WWD: Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
C.R.: Our offices are on Spring and Broadway, so I tend to be centered around [SoHo], but I like to kind of escape to the East Village or make it out as much as I can to Williams- burg in Brooklyn.
WWD: Do you have a favorite hangout?
C.R.: We always try to go to different places, so last night we ended up in Barcade — they have old vintage arcade machines. It was classic just playing all those games you remember from being a kid.
WWD: What are the things you love to do in New York?
C.R.: I love running here. I’ll go from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge, I enjoy doing that circuit.
WWD: Any little New York secrets?
C.R.: I often go to this beautiful barbershop on Thompson called Frank’s. All the barbers there are over 70 years old and I love that. You go in, they take a look at your head and boom, it’s done.
WWD: Do you take any inspiration from the city?
C.R.: I have more opportunities to go to galleries here more than when I’m in London. I had the chance to escape New York and go to the Dia Bea- con, beautiful. Again, when I think about my philosophy as a designer and this idea of remaking and reusing, I love that Dia is an old biscuit factory, you would never know everything has been completely reappropriated, there are so many different textures and quality and craft.
WWD: Have you learned a lot about retail through Victorinox?
C.R.: With wholesale, the buyer buys what they want and while it’s a relationship or a conversation, ultimately it’s their buy, they are not rep- resenting the whole of your collection, so having your own retail is quite an amazing opportunity.
WWD: You mentioned how you go to thrift stores and second-hand stores for inspiration.
C.R.: Yes, there are really good flea markets everywhere. I enjoy that sort of archaeology of finding things; one man’s rubbish is another man’s gold. Over the years I’ve collected everything from beautiful books, specific military items, metal safety pins used in laundry bags, all of these things that are back at my desk in the U.K.
WWD: Are we ever going to see a New York-centric collection for Christopher Raeburn?
C.R.: I think the Britishness is very important for my own label, a lot of what we do focuses around the fabric, manufacturing. I would never say never, but I think the idea of remade in England is key.