One to Watch: James Long

Designers will often cite style icons like Coco Chanel or Jane Birkin among their earliest inspirations, but for UK-based designer James Long, it all began with a very special TV show.

"Watching Ab Fab as a teenager, I loved all the crazy clothes," says Long. "Ii found it all came together my love of shape, color, texture and experimentation."

Long launched his debut collection of menswear soon after graduating from the Royal College of Art, turning heads with a distinctive grunge-goes-avant-garde aesthetic (think Kurt Cobain meets Patti Smith, both of whom Long mentions as continual sources of inspiration).

"There is a kind of trippy-hazy thing I love which comes out in different ways," says Long. "A type of psychedelia freedom."

This year, Long made his foray into womenswear for Fall/Winter '11, exploring a similarly luxe bohemian look splashed with goth-punk accents. "It was challenging but it should be," says Long. "The process is the same inspiration and ideas translated to garment and fit. I enjoy both. I take a lot from the menswear for the womenswear, but not really the other way round."

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