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Interview: Penny Armstrong of Native Youth

Interview: Penny Armstrong of Native Youth

By: Luci Wilden

Native Youth have only been around for three years but what an incredible three years they have been for the menswear label! Taking a no nonsense approach to British fashion, the brand represent a laid back, confident and stylish generation. With a history of muted colour palettes, well designed prints and a range of quality fabrics, the last three years have been hard on us ladies who were longing for a feminine equivalent. At long last I was beyond excited to hear that they are about to launch their first ever women’s collection designed by Penny Armstrong!

Native Youth have only been around for three years but what an incredible three years they have been for the menswear label! Taking a no nonsense approach to British fashion, the brand represent a laid back, confident and stylish generation. With a history of muted colour palettes, well designed prints and a range of quality fabrics, the last three years have been hard on us ladies who were longing for a feminine equivalent. At long last I was beyond excited to hear that they are about to launch their first ever women's collection designed by Penny Armstrong! 

The collection showcases trend-driven pieces which mirror everything I love about their menswear: quality fabrics, a range of textures and prints along with muted, natural colours. Born from a mixture of influences, androgynous British silhouettes are combined with Japanese style details and Scandanavian prints. I can only imagine Native Youth have an exceptional creative team as once again the collection is perfectly captured in an artistically styled lookbook that fits seamlessly alongside the menswear imagery. I couldn't wait to speak to lead designer Penny about the long awaited womenswear collection...

Hey Penny! We are in love with the new women’s collection! How long have you been working on it?
The collection stemmed from the menswear line and has been on the cards for a while now, we decided that Spring Summer 15 was the right time to launch and spent approximately two months refining ideas and gathering inspirations and fabrics for the perfect debut collection. 

What were your main influences design-wise?
As always, my own personal influences played a big part in the design process. I travel a lot to Asia and also parts of Europe and take inspiration from everywhere I go. I’m always inspired by Japanese street style and culture so this played a huge part in the design process.

We love the mixture of androgynous and feminine. How important was it to reflect elements of the menswear collection?
I think it was very important to keep the handwriting of the mens collection. However, we didn’t want this to be too literal and therefore used fabrics and prints in new ways to suit the feel of the collection. This concept is something that will evolve further for AW15, as keeping the balance between androgynous and feminine is something that we see as integral to the Native Youth Women collections

Are there any womenswear designers that inspired you?
Ive always loved brands such as ACNE and Opening Ceremony but love looking through the archives of Maison Mergiela, Margaret Howell and Yohji Yamamoto. I think it’s important to bring more of a premium edge to the high street. 

Who is the Native Youth customer?
Our customer is trend driven and looking for something fresh on the high street. Fabrications and finishings give the collection a premium feel that stands alone on the high street. I like to design styles that I would love to find on the high street myself.

What is your favourite piece of the collection?
My favourite piece is definitely the textured check suit that features a jacket with co ordinating trousers in a relaxed Japanese fit. Its perfect to add an edge to a Summer outfit and I can’t wait to wear it with a pair of old vans.

What can you tell us about AW15?
AW15 shows another exciting showcase of unique fabrics and inspirations sourced from around the globe. The collection is more refined and features cosy, chunky knits, wool coats and exciting new shapes.

Keep your eyes peeled…