Christopher Kane: ‘The fashion world needs to change’

I stopped reading reviews years ago. They are so reductive. I do what I do for myself. I don’t care about anyone else. No one else put me through art college, no one else built my business. It was always just me and my sister Tammy – and that’s how we like it.

Growing up, my aunties were like other mothers. My happiest memories are of us all together. There would be 10 in our house, plus two big boxer dogs. I’d be pouring whiskies and lighting cigarettes for people. We’d fight, scream, reír. It was chaos, De la mejor manera posible.

Being Scottish means knowing how to laugh at yourself. Our sense of humour is brilliantly dark: you never know when someone is being kind or evil, or when they’re telling the truth.

I’ve always been inspired by nature. The naked body in any shape or colour is brilliant. We are all sexual beings. It took me a long time not to feel bad about that.

Guilt has always weighed heavily on me. It comes from my Catholic upbringing. During the first lockdown I felt awful about being so unproductive, so I started painting again to ease my frustration. Then I’d worry I was enjoying myself too much.

The fashion world needs to change. We are all in this terrible cycle of wanting more and wanting new. I’ve slowed right down. My plan is to step off the hamster wheel and go all the way back to how it was when I was designing clothes in a bedroom in Dalston.

I hate that women still have to defend their choice in clothes. We should be focused on the real issues. What happened with Black Lives Matter woke me up. The fact that if you’re black you’re more likely to be attacked by the police or to die in childbirth is more important than anything.

The life of a designer is nowhere near as much fun as people imagine. Being creative is basically a prison sentence.

You can be whoever you want. Just don’t think you’re better than anyone else and don’t copy them. I see more and more designers reappropriating others’ work. I’ve never done that. I find it so depressing.

Happiness is liberating. More joy was our mantra before it became the title of our label. It was all about breaking the rules. We decided to ignore the fashion calendar and sell when we want to sell.

My sister and I slept in the same bed until I was 15. People always thought it was really weird. We are still as close as we’ve ever been. She is my sounding board, my business partner and my best pal.

I came out to my sister after I moved to London. She wasn’t particularly surprised. I remember hearing my brothers using the word “faggot” and thinking I was one.

One of my greatest pleasures is University Challenge and watching the strange but highly intelligent creatures who inhabit it. They were the people who were bullied at school and pushed into the corners and now look at them. I’m in awe.

When this is over people will go wild. I want to go to a gay bar, [object Window]. I hope we haven’t all forgotten how to be close.




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