Inside the Industry: Topman's Gordon Richardson talks menswear
As part of LCF Men, our ongoing menswear campaign to coincide with London Collections: Men, LCF has released a series of films capturing Britain’s most stylish gents – including Olympian Louis Smith and Joel Kitzmiller of VICE magazine. Last night saw Topman Design Director Gordon Richardson share his words of wisdom with a diverse range of LCF students at the Rootstein Hopkins Space, as part of the Inside the Industry series of student events.
With slicked back silver hair and polka-dot pocket square, you kind of wish Gordon Richardson were your dad. The man responsible for resurrecting Topman – not so long ago, the high street giant was referred to as ‘a store that hooligans would frequent’ – is as knowledgeable as they come with regards to male style. Although deadly serious about what he does, Gordon playfully reveals the not-so-successful company he set up with a friend when they were starting out. “We were just two people that didn’t have jobs,” he says. “We bought the fabrics from John Lewis,” he admits, shaking his head incredulously.
Gordon began his journey as a graphic design student, as it was a “very bloke-ish thing to do.” Uninspired by what he regarded as dull graphics lecturers, Gordon knew he wanted to work in menswear. It wasn’t until two fashion kids from London turned up at college in Portsmouth however that he decided to do something about it. One thing Gordon is adamant about is that the students he is sat in front of today enjoy their time at university as much as they possibly can. “Experiment when you’re a student!” he tells one girl studying menswear, adding that education is “so crucial.”
Topman champions emerging designers through its MAN initiative with Fashion East, and includes LCF alumna J W Anderson. To Gordon, nurturing fresh design talent is a key part of his job as Design Director, and can be just as exciting as staying one step ahead of the rest of the high street. As a member of the committee of London Collections: Men, Gordon is proud to be part of the team that, in his words, brought menswear back to the UK. “I’m not letting go of that!” he exclaims.
LCF’s standalone menswear catwalk showcased at the inaugural London Collections: Men, last June, and will continue to make a mark on British menswear in the future. What advice would he give to the stars of tomorrow, looking to break into the world of male style? “Be sensible, turn up on time, and do things with a smile,” he offers.
The face of menswear has changed so drastically in the last 10 – 15 years. When Gordon started out at Topman, there were only two designers. Now there’s a team of 20, alongside a whole host of other members. So what’s Gordon’s vision for the next decade? “To keep Topman at the forefront of people’s minds; for Topman to be the first place they go.”
Can’t argue with that can you?
Originally posted, here.