Meet Designer David Longshaw and His Fictional Side-kick

As part of the alumni of both Central St Martins and The Royal College of Art, it doesn’t take me by surprise that founder of self-titled brand David Longshaw and curator of Maude – the fictional character David created as a part of his final collection at St Martin- has an exquisite imagination. From Manchester, he’s always wanted to do Fashion since school, however he had a brief stint of fancying a career as a barrister due to his friends mum’s luxury car – a Bentley. He later decided that in actual fact he’d like a career doing something that he enjoyed, and here he is, the owner of his own label whilst running the fictional world of Maude.

Upon graduation David secured a place in Italy working for Alberta Ferreti, having also worked for Max Mara, he experienced designing for luxury fashion brands prior to launching his own label. In 2005, he was the First Prize winner of The Cove Park residency award from which he spent a month during the summer between his BA and MA in Scotland working on materials in preparation for his Masters at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated from in 2007. His project whilst at Cove Park in Scotland involved finding a home for Maude in the country as “she’d had enough of the city for a while”. The project took shape as a human sized dress made from twigs, a nest for a human sized Maude.

Maude was born from a story of a man named Nigel who started to withdraw from the world but developed an increasing number of friends who came to rent some space in his head. Maude was one of them, and so David’s sidekick signature human-mouse hybrid was born. Maude is more model sized than a mouse, so she can wear clothes and be the fashionista fashion predicta of Maude fantasia that she is. She is even Editor-in-Chief of “Maudezine” , a publication which in the world of Maude has been dubbed as “the future of fashion” – of course this is all fictional, and Maudezine as of yet is a non-existing publication but all are the subject of David’s vivid imagination which I must say, whisked me away. Maude is the Anna Wintour of the mouse world, and I could envisage it well.

Maude in an Envelope

Whilst talking together, we discussed David’s perfect way to spend a sunny day which he told me would consist of paying a visit to Columbia road flower market with girlfriend Kirsty Ward, and a picnic with a good ol’ weekend paper followed by the Theatre and a casual pub.

His style, which is a print based uses his illustrations and short stories to inform his collections with silhouette, feel and colour. He designs signature pieces that from a glance can be recognized as a “David Longshaw” piece. David’s illustrations are some what of a focus within his work as these are what begins his process of designing. Illustrating them, forming stories and scenarios which inform the direction of his collections. He’s illustrated using Maude for the London Fashion Week newspaper, as well as exhibiting Maude’s 12 days of Christmas for Vogue, and illustrating for various magazines including Tank Magazine. His methodology for designing is as unique as his style on the catwalk, when I tell him this he informs me, “I just like to make life hard for myself really.”

His current aims are to develop the brand and get more people stocking his designs, however eventually a store in New York or London is the dream where the store was microcosmic of his world with interactive videos of his short story films, wall engulfing illustrations and Maude memorabilia take the stage of his flagship store to be. I look forward to the day I can visit the world of Maude, and engulf myself in David’s imagination. For more visit David Longshaw’s website .


Maude Hat

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