THE BLOG

INTERVIEW: Designer Todd Lynn on Dressing Bono in Toilets and the Long Hard Road to Success

13/01/2015 11:26 GMT | Updated 14/03/2015 09:59 GMT

Todd Lynn has been called Rock and Roll's best kept secret. He has designed clothes for U2, The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson, and Courtney Love. He also recently designed all the costumes for Beyonce and Jay-Z's Run The World Tour. I was invited to meet him after his menswear show at LC:M (which is basically London fashion week for men), so I found myself leaving east London for what seemed like the first time in ages to hit up an expensive-looking basement club in Mayfair for our interview. As a tech entrepreneur with no previous experience in the fashion world, I wanted to find out if the legacy stories of constant partying and huge salaries were still true in today's industry.

How did you get started?

I wanted to make things myself. When people ask me what designers I admire I always say "I admire designers who do it themselves." So when you look at someone like Alexander McQueen, he could make a pattern, design something, and sew it.

He could do the whole thing, and that to me is a real creative designer. I thought "this is the way I'd like to model myself." I make all my own patterns.

What does fashion mean to you?

Lately I've found the concept of the word "fashion" to be quite horrid. It says something that I don't really want to be associated with. When people say what do you do and I say fashion designer I kind of cringe. I'm not interested in getting famous. I want to be successful and I want to have good product, but it should be my product that they like, not my name.

I work with lots of rock stars. I've got lots of clients who are famous and I see their lives. I got the tube here after my show. Fame for me is like Kim Kardashian. Fame is her job. She's very good at it, whether you like it or not. I'm not interested in that fashionable, glamorous world.

What advice would you give an eighteen year old who wants to break into the industry?

The most important thing is to be true to yourself. It took me a long time to figure that out myself. I was trying to play the fashion game for a while. You get anxious about the press. You get anxious about the perception of what you're doing. And I thought "this is crazy" because it's so out of your control. Getting chosen by a conglomerate group is like winning the lottery.

You showcased at LC:M today. What are your thoughts on menswear, within the context of the fashion scene in London?

In menswear, there's less pressure to conform. Although London is the least conformist city, you can actually do what you want. If your product doesn't come out of London, suddenly you need to fit into a category. They need to box you. It's like "How can we sell you?" London designers are all friendly, which is weird. If you put us in a room together it would be the best party, there's no animosity.

What was your biggest challenge?

I think money is the biggest challenge for designers. It's all about "how can you afford to deliver these things?" and it's so boring. It can limit you.

Being a fashion designer has come across as much harder work than I thought it'd be.

It's harder work than people give it credit for. Dawn (Todd's publicist) knows the fashion world is not glamorous. There is an element that I love about it, and that's the creative side. When I worked with U2, I would make Bono's clothes during the day, and he would wear it at night. I would cut it, I would sew it, normally in a toilet in an arena. Literally - urinals on the wall. Very glamorous. There'd be moments where he'd be sitting there, shirtless, waiting for me to finish his jacket so he could go on stage. And that was really fun - I love the fact that I could sit there and do that.

Finally, do you think the makers' revolution (things like 3D Printed Fashion and Jewellery) and new technology can enable people to be more creative?

One hundred percent - I like the idea that people are trying to figure things out that aren't mass-produced or a robot-operated system. There's so much skill in the world that I think we should take advantage of that. I love the idea of working with people who can do it better than I can. Which is weird because a lot of people don't do that, they like to hire people they can control. I like to have something to aspire to.