Interview: Jack Irving

I was first introduced to Jack Irving by my dear friend Jodie Harsh, we were both at the MTV awards and Jodie was floating towards me looking like she’d beamed in from space. This was MORE than a God damn dress – it was art… I was hooked instantly.

Since then I have had the pleasure of wearing this amazing designer several times (alongside Lady Gaga, more on that later) and he continues to blow my mind. At last months Sink The Pink we had the pleasure of Jack debuting his new collection, 7 foot tall trannies wearing his creations strutted down that catwalk to pumping techno and believe me the club went WILD. This 21-year-old talent has arrived and he is NOT doing it quietly. I grabbed 10 with the amazing designer to find out more….

So we’ve just seen your amazing designs fresh off the Bethnal Green working men’s catwalk, Glamma! How was it babe?

Jack: It was amazing, I had a vision in my head and I wanted it to feel like these demonic alien showgirls invaded the disco. It all came together SO well. There were inflatable pieces and seeing them walk through the club was like BAM, but it worked amazingly.

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So tell me about the pieces, it was so surreal seeing the enormity of them strutting through the club.

It was a combination of my old pieces and new stuff, a highlight for me was Alexus Deluxe wearing the big Venus flytrap. The inspiration for that piece is that the queen within is so powerful she can open up something she’s been wrapped within, the minute Alexus opened the piece she almost ate the audience.

Your designs are larger than life and often inflatable? An obsession with blow-ups dear?

More is more for me, less is just a silly concept. I don’t want practicality, I like to take the piss out of my own aesthetic. I like it silly and big,

Well I live by that principal is this why you wanted to show at Sink the Pink?

Yeah totally, it just seemed so right. I work with a lot of drag queens and, like I said, I am very tongue in cheek. That in it’s essence is SO Sink The Pink, so it was a match made in heaven. I love to also combine worlds and themes, aliens and showgirls are not necessarily things you would put together but it somehow works, I see that a LOT at Sink The Pink, a real mix of ideas. I just want silliness, I’m encouraged by that.

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You’re obviously a LOT younger than me, it took me so many years to find that freedom, that green light to run with my crazy ideas, where have you found that confidence in your creativity? It’s very brave.

I have been making clothes since I was 12 and have always been obsessed with putting on a show, a spectacle, I loved lasers, smoke machines and creating things larger than life. Plus I was raised in Blackpool, I mean that inspired me SO much, growing up there I thought everyone was putting on a show.

But you’re quiet and not the showman at all?

I am very shy but my work is the total opposite, it’s how I get to put on a show. I let my work speak for my inner thoughts, I’m creating this world in my head and then my designs let me release that. I want everything to be a showpiece! I want to visually bombard.

Talking of Drag queens we MUST discuss the mother of drag queens, the biggest queen of them all, Lady Gaga, how the fuck did that happen?

I created my final collection at St Martins and they really pushed me to be me, I ended with this super glitzy out there show and sent the photos and videos to her team on the off chance. This was literally 3 months after graduating and they emailed me straight back saying yes let’s work together. I then didn’t hear anything for a while and then IT happened! I got the call from her team asking me to create pieces for her to close the tour in, I have never screamed so much!!! She ended up wearing three pieces in 6 days.

Lady Gaga out and about in Paris

You must have been in heaven, I mean you were one of her biggest fans before right?

I was crying with emotion, I was so overwhelmed. She was tweeting about my designs and I couldn’t get over the fact that 65 million people were seeing my work.

So, where next?

I want to do HUGE stage stuff now, Lady Gaga was a life goal so it’s a bit like where now? I do stage design too so for me I want to be doing whole stage concepts, BIG, BIG, BIG stuff!