When I picked up the phone for my interview with Maxine from Platypus Clothing, what I didn’t expect to finish the call with scrawled across the top of my notebook page were the words ‘penis envy’. But after an animated explanation of the hardships of too many wardrobe choices as a female, and the benefits of androgynous clothing lines such as Platypus, I too now have penis envy… Guys. You have it easy.
Maxine is one half of the duo that owns Platypus, her counterpart being Sarah. The brand, born when the two graduated from Nottingham Trent three years ago, is a nod to local creative culture and combining this with fashion, in an effort to break free from the mass produced. Coming from a Graphic Design background, they combined their suited skills to become business partners.
I asked what brought the decision to set up in Nottingham, and the answer I received I couldn’t agree with more. London is embellished in such a way that it almost seems living on London turf would instantaneously bring success, and that success outside of this urban border is simply unheard of, and this just isn’t the case. There is such a huge creative network in Nottingham and massive potential for growth, so after living here for three years whilst studying, it made sense to stay.
What are you most looking forward to during NFW?
I’m interested in the bringing together of all these creatives in Nottingham. There are so many talented individuals you kind of know of but just haven’t properly met yet, and we’ve been trying to do this for too long, bring us all together. We’re really interested in collaboration so communication and events like these really are key.
Speaking of collaborations, who would you most like to collaborate with?
We’re currently in talks about a really exciting collaboration with Nottingham street artists – we’re bringing out jackets in the weeks to come, and we’re hoping to exhibit our work, using the jackets almost like blank canvases.
This focus on producing garments that are works of art, from two creative people with interests in British art, music, film and street culture as well as fashion makes for some really great designs. Its when I ask about Maxine’s favourite piece in the new collection that we hit the topic of the contrasts in simplicity between male and female wardrobes. Platypus is venturing into outerwear, with statement denim jackets set to feature in the show on Friday.
We discuss price point, and men’s willingness to pay twice as much for a T-shirt as women, whereas outerwear stands as of more investment pieces for both sexes.
“I have a bit of penis envy actually. Men have it easy. They decide between casual and smart, throw some trousers and a top on and they’re good to go. No worrying about dresses, skirts.. heels, all that stuff.”
I too hope one day to be self employed (who doesn’t?), so I finished by asking Maxine what the best lessons learned have been since starting a brand.
“It’s such a learning curve overall, and what I particularly like is that you have complete control over which skill areas you’re wanting to improve. You make connections and have to surround yourself with positive people in order to keep moving.”
As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m working with The Creative Quarter this week in covering Nottingham’s first week-long fashion event. It’s a collaboration between Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) and The Creative Quarter.
I’d really encourage you to attend the Spotlight on Independent Fashion Showcase, as it’s looking to be a really fun and inspiring event, and Platypus will be there! There will be a ‘how many balloons in the smart car’ competition too, where all of the money goes to Nottingham Refugee Forum