You may think you know the real Oliver Proudlock from what we see on Made In Chelsea, but away from the bitchy catfights, cheating on the glamorous streets of SW10, Ollie has been quietly building his own fashion empire, Serge DeNimes that’s already become a firm favourite to stars like Rita Ora and Brooklyn Beckham.
At the time i had just finished my degree in Fine Art at Newcastle University, and had moved back to London. I knew that I wanted to continue to be creative and do my own thing, but having painted for 4 years straight, I wanted to move into my other passion which has always been fashion. I wanted to create a brand that combined art and fashion.
So what was your first thought?
At the time graphic t shirts were massively on trend, and I wanted to start with a product that I was familiar with and do it to the best of my ability. So I made it my goal to try and make the best quality t-shirt in terms of the touch, but combine this with the best graphic, to hopefully create the ultimate graphic t-shirt.
So where’s the name from?
Since I was a kid i have always been surrounded by denim. My mum had her own company called Denim In Style, and she would use the material to upholster pretty much anything! Even my entire wallpaper in my room was denim! She was and still is denim obsessed, and even calls herself the Queen ofDenim. She is so amazing my mum, a true style and creative genius, and i like to think i get it all from her. Hence the name! When it came to naming my brand I wanted it to reflect a material that I had grown up with, and as a result too just like my mum become obsessed with. Although i was starting with t shirts, but to one day work with denim was the dream.Was it hard to set up in terms of the business aspects?
I am very much a creative, and never studied business during my education, but I like to think I am a fast learner so although it wasn’t impossible it was very much a learning curve for me. I am more into the designing aspect of fashion, however in order to create your own business your have to be savvy and learn all aspects that are involved.
What kind of fashion background did you have?
I have never studied fashion, but I have always been surrounded by it through my mother. Therefore I like to think it is in my blood, like a fourth sense.
How successful has it been so far?
There have been ups and downs, but after four years we are still going strong and growing year on year which is so exciting. I have been so lucky to have worked with the people I have worked with along the way, and to be surrounded by positive like minded people. One of the things I love the most about the creative industry, and being a young brand within it, is how it is like one big community and everyone is going through struggles and learning step by step and we all help each other out.Describe the designs – who wears your clothes?
The designs are thought about, with an emphasis on quality and attention to detail. We appeal to the young creatives, the street wise and the fashion conscious.
How involved in the designs are you?
This is my favourite part of having my own brand, I am involved in every aspect of the creative process. This is what I love the most.
Do you take on new designers? Are you on the look out for fresh talent?
Yes, I am always on the look out for new creative talent. There is so much out there, and you constantly need to look to the young, they are so talented, hungry, and keen to make an impact.
My favourite brands are really varied – I love the casual preppyness of Ralph Lauren, the clean minimal structure of Sandro, A.P.C. outerwear, the laid back energy that Ksubi embody, the shape of Dries Van Noten and the tailoring and cool London vibe of Casely-Hayford.
Which high street stores do you fill your wardrobe with?
Im a big fan of brands like COS. My wardrobe is filled with a lot of Diesel and was lucky enough to work with them on a project recently. I have become a big fan of Whistles menswear and River Island are doing some great stuff at the moment especially with their LCM designer collaborations.
With Serge, not yet. I want to wait until we have a wider collection, and then I will look to do something over LCM.
Have any celebs worn your clothes?
Yes, I have been extremely lucky with the celebrity support. We have had the likes of Jordan Dunn and Rita Ora who have worn the brand. Both are extremely beautiful women who really embody the brands DNA of individuality, strength and a definitive sense of style. For men we most recently had Brooklyn Beckham wear the brand, who is on his way to becoming a bit of a style icon!! So we have been very fortunate indeed.
Being on a show like Made In Chelsea, does ever scare people off?
I wouldn’t say it scares people off, but it sometimes means people have a preconception of me and pigeon hole me slightly. But I like to think when they get to know me, they realise I am very far from this.
What has the experience of being on a show like this been?
It has been an amazing experience. I never thought I would ever be in front of a camera, let alone be on a reality TV show. I have so many memories, and I have met so many awesome people along the way. For me my highlight would have to be the three months we filmed in New York last summer. This was probably three of the best months of my life.
Whats coming up for you next?
I am focusing on my brand, and have some very exciting things coming for 2016. As well as this I have a few collaborations which I will be announcing in the new year.
Serge DeNimes FW15 Collection Model – Aiden Taylor elite | Photographer: Lloyd Moore
Photos of Oli: Model – Oliver Proudlock | Photographer – Alex Douglas