Esquire Interview: dunhill's Newest Creative Director, Mark Weston

'Style is all about simplicity and ease.'

BY Eugene Lim | Sep 27, 2017 | Fashion

Photographs by Onin Lorente

A quiet evolution (not revolution) is taking place at the house of dunhill with the hiring of Creative Director, Mark Weston. We travelled to London, to photograph veteran actor, Hu Bing, in his capsule collection for the Fall/Winter ’17 season, as well as speak to the man himself, to find out what to expect from the changing of the guard.

Esquire: We would like to know more about the inspiration behind the capsule collection. What can you share with us?

Mark Weston: It was actually born from a pragmatic point of view. For me, it was important to look around [the brand] and see what sorts of things already existed, and if there was anything missing. I also wanted to bring a new point of view to dunhill.

Wool and cashmere coat, and cotton shirt, both by dunhill

As a designer, I’ve admired dunhill for many years, and always kept an eye on what’s happening. But it felt a little nostalgic, a little forgotten, so the collection is about adding a certain sensibility and versatility, and making the brand relevant. I found myself thinking, okay, well, what’s missing in the company? Great coats, down coats and beautiful knitwear. But we also didn’t have any tennis shoes or sneakers which every guy wears in some shape or form these days.

It was more about the philosophy than the theme, and setting the language by looking at the right construction, proportions and details. I wanted to make sure that the collection still felt British and had pieces that you would just love to wear.

Esquire: There isn’t much information about you online. Could we ask what made you want to become a fashion designer?

Mark Weston: You won’t see, or find out much about me online because that’s something deliberate on my part. As a relatively private person, I’ve always felt that what I contributed as a designer to the brands that I’ve worked for was more important than who I am.

Personally, I never thought I’d be a fashion designer, or to be more accurate, a menswear designer. I’ve always been interested in style, but, for me, it was about simplicity and ease. It wasn’t about being showy, as I didn’t feel I had to communicate in an obvious way.

I thought I was going to enter the graphics industry, but that changed when I went to college to do a foundation course, which focused on a different discipline every week. I realised quite quickly that I didn’t like where the graphics industry was headed. I had a very inspiring tutor for fashion textiles who gave me a different understanding of what fashion really meant, and introduced me to designers and their work. It was then that I realised I had an affinity for it, because fashion can be sophisticated and quiet too. Another thing that I found really appealing was that I discovered you can do very simple things with menswear yet have a point of view and an intention. So that’s what underpins my thinking
and, in fact, my career.

Esquire: Do you feel there’s a contrast between keeping up with trends versus creating beautiful, timeless pieces?

Mark Weston: There is a contrast, and that’s why dunhill is still relevant. There’s a great David Hicks quote: “Style is not what you do but how you do it.” It’s about having newness; we will be introducing evolutions in each of the areas that we offer. Whether it is ready-to-wear or accessories, it’ll be about how we put everything together to give ourselves a voice each season—if you were to call it that.

The important thing for me is making sure we have interesting propositions and a narrative throughout the year; that when products come into the store, they are suitable for that time of the year. I think we need to be mindful of being in the moment where customers can buy something straightaway, and not think: “It’s summer. I want to buy a cool pair of sandals or shorts, but can only find fall/winter clothes.” You need to strike a balance that ensures there’s excitement and things that inspire yet are also practical, easy and immediate.

That’s why the SS’18 collection will drop in batches. This is us trying to target what our customers would want during a particular time, and understanding the flow of the year, and not trying to think too much about seasons.

Cashmere and wool double-breasted coat, wool pullover and wool trousers, all by dunhill

This article was first published in the print edition of Esquire Singapore, September 2017.