Mark Fast Actually Loves Lady Gaga

In the past year, two tremors have rocked the London fashion scene and designer Mark Fast’s place in it. First, his last two catwalk shows have seen a near-sacrilegious mingling of plus-sized models with the regular minus kind, making his already-clingy Lycra knit dresses a big, bold statement on their more-to-love figures. And second, he denied Lady Gaga the use of his garments, for fear of…well, you can read his answer below. Both intensified the spotlight on the East End-toiling newbie—and helped him nab cushy sponsorships.

Next month, Fast will show his spring ’11 collection at London Fashion Week’s Somerset House, which has the fashion crowd wondering if another faux pas will rock their worlds. We caught up with Fast to talk about his newfound fame and just how fast he plans to go…

Would you say you’re part of an East London group of designers? You all seem to work on the same block—Shacklewell Lane, to be exact. Why is that?
Not just the same block. In fact, at the moment, most of us are in the same building. I think East London has a great energy and mix of cultures. The designers I know show such a great absorption of culture, and this is a great place to do it. Also, there is a grimy cool edge here, which is very London fashion.

You’ve worked with Lancôme, Topshop, and Swarovski, to name a few. How important are collaborations for new designers?
Collaborations are an amazing way to make one’s dreams come true. I would never be able to afford 10,000 crystals for my dresses each season. Swarovski allows me to create what I see in my head without compromising on creativity because of the cost. I also work with MAC on my shows and they are an incredible support. When you have collaborations you get introduced to really professional and creative people and products. There is a great trust between me and my sponsors. We feed creatively off each other. It is also a great way to see how your vision can be immersed into high-end or high-street possibilities.

Are you ever inspired by your Canadian roots? What about a lumberjack line?
Ha, very funny! But yes, that would be a great idea! I am very fond of my Canadian culture. I love the peace of the nature there.

Earlier this year you made the decision not to loan dresses to Lady Gaga. What was your rationale at the time and did she say anything to you about it?
I love Lady Gaga. She’s a great performer. At the time the request was made, I didn’t feel like she had the right image for the brand. It was really blown out of proportion, actually. I find it so silly that people would focus on that. It happens every single day in fashion that requests get declined for one reason or another.

Out of everyone you’ve dressed, who has been your favorite?
Rihanna, because I love her vibe and music.

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you right before show time?
Finding out that Mary Katrantzou, who showed after me, had the same music as me.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever thought about sending down the runway?
A mannequin wheeled down by someone, with a drawing of a dress pinned on it.

Can you give us any hints about your next collection?
Well, I haven’t had such a catwalk as I will have at Somerset House. I am going to have a great lighting rig. The production is going to be hot!

Your second line, Faster, seems to be doing well. Any plans for another line?
Not So Fast, dresses that take many weeks to make.

What’s one thing we don’t know about Mark Fast?
My middle name is Knits.

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