CS: Yes, historically, if we look back at these moments of crisis, it’s when we get this flourishing creativity. If we go back to the period immediately after World War I and to the Spanish influenza pandemic and the period that immediately followed it – the 1920s – there was an eruption of style, music, a sense of rebellion, and that was a period when that was very clear in fashion as much as in any other area of creativity.
We had the birth of the Jazz Age and the shift from what was defined as being Edwardian, which was a very particular aesthetic, into this modernity that was all about liberation and freedom. And while most of us feel like we’re part of the modern age – a very contemporary age because we’ve lived through the 50s, the 60s the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the noughties and the 10s – we could, of course, see something completely new erupt in the 2020s that is as shocking or as refreshing and as different as that shift from the Edwardian Age to the Jazz Age. I mean, are you getting anything that maybe has a sense of that? Are you getting an inkling of this major shift in terms of style or creativity?
TE: As you say, Chris, you know, one of the things I got very bored with was fashion because fashion is old-fashioned! You know, the only way to be fashionable is to be yourself. You’ve cited the 20s: the Bright Young Things – Cecil Beaton – at a very difficult time they were quite outrageous in their approach to all sorts of things.
I think we’ve been quite conservative for the last decade or so in the way that we approach things. And yet, when we look at technology and that side, it’s very exciting what’s going on there. So, I hope that people will start to think differently and also I think people have become much more vocal. They’re very dissatisfied with the politics, the situation. There are going to be a lot of people in very difficult times. We’ve got to think a lot more creatively.
The other thing is we all have to help each other get out of this bloody mess. So, out of that there’s got to be some kind of coming together and I do feel that something is happening. I do think there is. I’m very romantic. I tend to see things like a movie – sometimes a bit of a bad B movie – but if it’s a good movie I see pockets of people trying to do things a little bit differently. And I hope that’s a trend because otherwise we’ll become very generic or very vanilla, and we won’t actually have a point of opinion. But I think that’s possibly what’s happening: throwing everything up in the air and some really good things are going to land on the floor.
CS: Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. And let’s hope that we have 20 years ahead of astonishing creativity and vibrancy and that a sense of optimism will prevail.
TE: Well, I think the other thing, Chris, is that in my lifetime, I don’t expect a white knight to come along and save any of us. If you’re a young student or an existing business, there are people out there who you could probably collaborate with and work with, but unfortunately, we’ve got to do that ourselves. And we’ve got to drive our own path, like you’ve done with The Future Laboratory. Of course, you’re a team, but you’ve got to drive yourself and attract the right people to do that. And that’s what we’re trying to do here – work with the best people we can. And also, as we were when we were starting out, help those sorts of people. Let’s be positive; there is going to be newness and there will be a future.