I came across Sam's creative work one evening while scrolling through my feed when a pair of trousers that were constructed from retro Liverpool football scarves abruptly halted my scrolling finger. The creative flare and uniqueness of the design left me intrigued and since then I have been a fan of Sam's work, with his imaginative mind really showing in every creation he has worked on. Whether it be an all over print button down shirt made from 1993 headlines or a pair of shorts reconstructed from a Wall’s Ice Cream parasol, bold prints and colours are key to Sam's pieces and brand. This has lead to Sam creating an amazing body of work with each piece holding its own aesthetic and story.
We spoke to the man behind these wild designs to learn a bit more about the thought and process behind the pieces.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started designing?
I’ve been working on my self-titled clothing line for just over 2 years. I started by printing t shirts and have been gradually getting more ambitious, developing my skills and currently cutting and sewing my own pieces from fabric. I became bored of screen printing rather quickly. It’s a way into creating clothes and I think its necessary for people to learn it and do it themselves, which a lot of new brands or designers don’t. It’s a basic method and quite easy to grasp. I think what bothered me is that everyone seems to be throwing designs through photoshop and printing them onto t shirts, calling it a brand and whatever. It’s a good starting point but I always wanted to learn more. I had drawn up designs for dresses that I knew I wanted to make when I was screen printing but the only thing stopping me was my ability so I wanted to change that as quickly as I could. I sort of found this area just by wanting to learn and push myself. I would screen print t shirts on the floor of my university bedroom and then sell them to my friends. I always knew I wanted more and I still do. These things I’m creating today will get better and will get bigger scale. I bought a sewing machine and would look in charity shops, fabric shops, vintage shops, job lots, ebay auctions for fabric and grab whatever I could. I’m just fucking around on my sewing machine and people seem to really connect with it, I’m really thankful for that.
What are the inspirations behind your work?
I get inspiration from everywhere. My friends and the people around me are a big inspiration, the conversations I have with them and the subsequent ideas from those have led me to create my best work. There was a lot of ideas coming out of my Uni house last year, many of them after midnight. I get a lot of inspiration from my phone too. My whole Instagram feed is a constant source of inspiration because of the accounts I follow and the stuff my friends will send me. I studied Architecture and I was lucky to be in a creative environment with similar people every day, I got a lot of ideas from what happened in those design studios, whether it’s walking past somebodies desk and seeing a drawing, picking up an architecture book or watching someone present a model. People don’t usually link clothes & Architecture, but they’re very much intertwined as disciplines.
What does your creative process look like?
I don’t necessarily have any process or a set way that I make each item, occasionally I’ll have a piece drawn in my sketchbook that I know I want to make and then I’ll try and source the materials from that. That was the case with the Liverpool scarf trousers. I knew I wanted to make them and then spent weeks looking in charity shops and on ebay for these scarves. Other times I’ll find the fabric first and then work around that to create a pattern and piece. Its varied and very unpredictable.
You use a lot of repurposed materials in your work. Do you feel that sustainability is important in the current fashion climate?
I think it’s really important and will be for a very long time. It’s also very on trend to be sustainable. There’s a lot of brands/individuals simply jumping on it for that reason and to kinda keep stakeholders/ customers happy without really taking too much care in their output and process. I think the sustainability side for me is almost a by-product of what I make, I only used second hand fabrics and materials because it was cheap and available to me, but I’m really keen on keeping things sustainable as I grow
"I’m just fucking around on my sewing machine and people seem to really connect with it, I’m really thankful for that."
You recently worked on an amazing 16 piece collection with Wimbledon, how did that collaboration come about?
Wimbledon’s towel provider ended up getting in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in reworking some of the iconic towels. That’s all there was to it really. I had no idea how many they were giving me to work with then one day I ended up coming back to my uni house to 4 boxes of 40 towels. The Wimbledon collection was really big for me. My Grandparents are really big tennis fans and have always played. My Grandfather used to take my brother and I to his tennis & squash clubs and we would play. This collection was more for him than me in that sense, I guess.
What’s next for Sam Nowell?
I’m working on a few projects at the moment with some brands and individuals I really look up to. I’m also trying to focus on creating things that people can purchase. I’ve had some inquiries for some people wanting to intern so I might have to take some people on. I’m mad busy.