Varun Sharma is a Middlesex University graduate and the head designer behind the young and chic RUN label. I had the privilege of meeting him during London Fashion Week while he was displaying his AW16 collection at the Fashion Scout Exhibition. I asked Varun how it felt to have that exciting opportunity.
"As a designer you can end up spending so much time isolated focussing on getting a collection together that it can feel like a bit of a shock to the system to suddenly have to change roles and be a representative for your work. Showing during London Fashion Week with Fashion Scout felt like the completion of one journey and the beginning of so many more. It was overwhelming to see such a definitive and positive reaction to the new AW16 collection."
It's no surprise that the newest RUN collection received such positive feedback. Varun's use of fur paired with sheer mesh and neoprene fabrics create a bold, strong look.
"This season I was inspired by a few different influences – post apocalyptic, body armour, and punk. I normally tend to veer towards using silks and chiffons, but this collection for me was an opportunity to be graphic and play with patterns and shapes. I didn't want to be obvious or literal with my inspiration but moreover to inject hints from where I began and to create my own language. I felt the small details such as raw edges, exposed zips/overlocking, and cut outs were a clean and youthful way to express my ideas. I find it most inspiring to design when I try to fuse ideas that feel isolated from each other, like using fur with sheer fabrics. I like to create wearable clothes but as a young designer I want to embrace my creativity."
Varun's attention to detail is clearly shown through his simple, clean designs. His garments feature crisp lines and an effortlessly cool attitude. His clothes speak for themselves and don't rely on any gimmicks; I ask Varun if he believes that less is more when it comes to designing.
"I love adding details to my pieces. I believe the little details such as pockets, topstitch thread colours, a collar shape, buttons, or hems make a real designer and bring your clothes to life. It's these little details that give purpose to your designs and carry your vision through to reality. I think it is much more beautiful to play with the smallest insignificant details like a pleat or a small tie, and magnify them than to add all the bells and whistles."
Before creating his own line, Varun worked under menswear designer Carolyn Massey and a lot of his pieces feature a masculine edge, so I question if he has ever thought about creating a menswear line.
"I would love to – originally I had planned on starting my own menswear label, but instead opted to work on womenswear. I felt this would allow me much more flexibility with design and creativity. I would love to create men's clothing as it has always played a large influence on my design process. I am hoping that in the coming season or two I will be able to create a small men's capsule collection."
With his SS16 collection, Varun decided to make some pieces unisex due to his 'borrowed from your boyfriend' inspiration. His printed bomber jackets were a hit with both men and women. Pieces from that collection were featured in an array of menswear editorials, which could be the start of RUN breaking into the world of men's fashion.
To conclude, I ask Varun to describe his design style in five words.
"Youthful, clean, modern, edited, and fun."
I definitely agree.