This is the third in a series of collaborations between Margaret Howell and a designer practising in another field. Each year Margaret Howell invites a designer whose work she admires to produce a shirt. Previous collaborators were Kenneth Grange and Sam Hecht – both industrial design specialists. This year it is Dan Pearson, garden and landscape designer.
Provenance of material is important to Dan Pearson in his work, so Margaret thought it appropriate to source from the UK. After some research she came back to two suppliers she has worked with for many years. She chose a natural un-dyed linen shirting woven by Spence Bryson in Northern Ireland, and horn buttons made by James Grove in the West Midlands. The natural irregularities of these materials complement each other as do the textures of a garden.
A work shirt requires plenty of practical details: the Dan Pearson shirt incorporates large cuff gussets to ease rolling up sleeves, a generous inverted pleat in the back for extra movement, a useful hanging loop, and of course two large pockets for Dan’s Opinel pen knife and pencils. And when the top buttons are undone, and the collar loosened, the shirt reveals another hidden detail…. The kind of discovery Dan particularly enjoys, not only in his work but in his clothes.
The result is a workshirt – one that works as well outdoors without a tie, as it does indoors with one.
‘Even though they’re very different, what I aim for in a shirt I also see in a Dan Pearson garden – a relaxed feel that comes from inspiration, editing and deep respect for materials. It was a pleasure to work with Dan as he understands the hard, detailed preparation needed to achieve that informal spirit.’
— MARGARET HOWELL
‘It was fun…. Collaboration is always fascinating, and for landscape designers it is a process that has to be entered into with the client, the architect and with the land itself. It is a case of feeling your way and being open, and it was interesting to see how familiar it felt when designing the shirt. Much of the iteration was intuitive, responding to form and texture, colour and provenance of the materials. It was a pleasure to let Margaret and her team bring their skills to the crafting of a piece I will be delighted to wear.’
— DAN PEARSON
Exhibition at 34 Wigmore Street, W1 until end May