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by Natalie Bannerman

Never-mind 20/20 – Jacob Birge Vision is 360 degrees

We’ve all heard of a 360 deal within the musical context, but how about in the fashion sense? Not 360 as in you bust your ass doing all the work, forging new businesses and they try to take a percentage of everything you make! No, no as in JBV do it ALL. As an ultra futuristic hybrid, companies like JBV are the future of fashion houses and labels. Encompassing not only the stylistic prowess required to create the most amazing and interesting pieces of clothing, but in keeping all their media channels in house and sourcing another revenue stream via consulting for other labels they have cast their net so wide, so as not to leave any stone unturned.

We caught up with Jacob Birge himself and discussed at length the various parts of his 360 approach to the fashion business and the future of the industry as a whole,not to mention which member of dragons den the brand is most like!

1st piece of the pie – Fashion:

Ultra modern materials – Are we talking space fabric?

 We use fabrics which have not been used in fashion before, but we mix them with traditional materials. Talking about space fabrics – in our A/W 2013 collection we used carbon fibres which is used by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Completely off the top of your head, what’s the future of fashion?

 It will be very divided – high end fashion will be more exclusive and the rest will be more high street – it is apparent now especially in men’s fashion in London it  becoming much closer to high street than high end.

Name me the ONE classy signature piece we have to have from JBV ?                                                                              Dress no. 3 – semi – fitted V neck dress with panels at the front /back – classy, but still quite casual (Resort 2014) .

2nd piece of the pie – Sound & Audio:

Tell me some of the projects JBV have been involved with specifically in sound & audio?

 I have released 2 EP’s in the last 2 years – both ecstatically different – Variations –the ambient album, and more recent Symmetric Strategy – where I have used the same equations which have been used to design my graduate collection – so each   track is one outfit – one idea but translated into two different types of media.

I also made a soundtrack for our show in London In February 2013. My album called The Fountainhead was released under the Acre Recordings.

Is it ultimately a goal to record tracks for music artists?

No, not really, I am focused on fashion and I record music sometimes – I know my equipment and know how to make music, but I am not really interested in doing it for someone else – only if maybe some big names were interested in collaborating, then maybe.

What makes JBV better than a recording studio/engineer/producer with more experience and more specialised knowledge?

I have my own taste within music – I love bands like Autechre Or Venetian Snares – those guys are a geniuses of our era – I don’t think I can beat them, but I can tell my own story with my music.

If JBV were a song what would it be?

LCC by Autechre

3rd piece of the pie – Movies:

How important is a platform such as film in the fashion industry?

 It became more and more important over the years but especially now, access to technology and making a fashion movie does not require big budget any more. It is a great way of showing fashion in a more active and dynamic way than just as a still       picture – but there is still necessity for both.  

Is it a goal to eventually to create full length films? If so will they be specifically fashion based In content?

 There is no plan for that ,maybe in the future – but it would require some collaboration with real movie makers. For example ‘A Single man’ by Tom Ford was visually very engaging, so why not?

Who are some of JBV’s visual inspirations, both in picture and directors?

It is hard to pick just one – sometimes the ideas come from random things or pictures. A lot of my inspirations come from music and visual art such as Carsten Nicolai, Ryoji Ikeda. In terms of directors I like Cremaster series by Matthew Barney and most of David Fincher movies.

If JBV were a film what would it be?

There is only one answer for that : The Fight Club

4th piece of the pie – Branding:

What makes JBV distinctive as a brand?

We are focused on technology and hi-tech fabrics and materials. We implement fashion with fashion movies and sound design that makes the brand unique. Our vision is modern and relevant to the current day and age.

What other brands would you take as a model or guide for what JBV wants to emulate?

I think now we are going down a similar route to a young Maison Martin Margiela – A brand which is huge and well known in fashion industry, but is now recognized by the average person. Margiala as a brand was never thought of in the first group of      designers which crossed your mind, but over the years became a leading label in terms of braking barriers and discovering a new method of presenting fashion – we would like to do something similar by introducing technology.

Describe the JBV brand in three words?

Ultramodern – Masculine – Chic

5th piece of the pie – Business Consultancy:

What prompted JBV to move into fashion consultancy in the first place?

 I set up the brand from scratch, so I want to share this experience with others. Also we offer design consultancy – so we help develop the actual collection for other designers.  

A quote comes to mind “Jack of all trades master of none” what’s your response to that? Do you think the label may be stretching itself too thin?

In a core we are a fashion brand and this is our main focus – other activities we undertake are just built around that – I compose music for our shows and make a movie to promote the collection and consultancy is just offering my experience and knowledge, but our main purpose is fashion and producing collections.

What one generic piece of constructive business advice, would you give to all creative companies?

There will be a lot of people who will try to take your money, so make sure you research all the opportunities out there well and trust your instinct – quality work will always take you to the top.

If JBV were to liken itself to an entrepreneur from dragons den, who would it be?

Peter Jones

Hmm Peter Jones huh … I would have thought more Kelly Hoppen … sharp, fierce and fabulous!