Graeme Gaughan founded Tourne de Transmission as an outlet for the ideas, inspiration and experience spawned by his daytime job in fashion PR. Two seasons in and his fusion of intricate prints with casualwear is fast establishing the label as the ultimate in slick streetwear.
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Graeme Gaughan is the multi-talent behind pensive-t-shirt-label-turned-fully-fledged-fashion-label, Tourne de Transmission. The Communications Director at the London-based public relations agency IPR from 9 to 5, Graeme founded the label in 2011 as an outlet for the ideas, inspiration and experience spawned by his daytime job representing some of the biggest designers and fashion brands in the world. Fusing intricate prints with casual sweatshirts and t-shirts, TDT – as the kids call it – is fast establishing itself as the ultimate high-quality slick streetwear label. With his first full collection launching for AW12 and the second in the bag for SS13, Graeme is proof that every designer is his own best PR. Rather the multi-tasker, he spoke to i-D online just days before he was off to Greece to run the Athens Classic Marathon.
Why did you decide to run the marathon? I’ve always been one of those people who has to have extracurricular activities. I’ve always got three or four projects in the go. My next one is learning how to ride a motorbike – but not because I’m going through a midlife crisis! I’m not actually going to buy one.
It would be a little early. But it goes with your entrepreneurial vibe. Yeah, I get that off my dad. He’s a classic Irish wheeler dealer. He’s always had multiple businesses on the go.
Is having a t-shirt line next to being a PR a result of that as well? Multitasking? Yeah, I guess so. I just saw what people were doing and thought, “Yeah, but if you did that and changed this and so on, it would be so much better.” So I thought instead of talking about it, I should try it myself and see how hard it was. And it’s not easy, but you can do it. If all I had to do was that, my God, I could do so much. It does make you think that people need to learn to multitask more, especially in this business.
But obviously you have the skills. I was doing lots of graphic design from years ago – self-taught sort of thing – and the first t-shirt I ever designed was for my band at the time. We sold them at gigs and stuff. I also did little freelance projects for other brands, and knew that it wasn’t that difficult to create a really good t-shirt as long as you pick a good manufacturer and have good-quality print. Luckily I have good friends who are good designers and they can point me in the right direction as to factories and stuff.
Did you decide to do a label because you were tired of promoting other people all the time? Oh, no, I love it. I wouldn’t drop that for the world.
Do you see yourself as a designer as well as a PR? No, it’s more like creating, although I’m starting to mess with design a little bit now. But the majority of what I do is take classic items and classic shapes and just tweak them here and there, whether it’s putting little vintage details on things or playing with lengths and proportions. I’m useless at drawing with my hand – I’ve never been very creative in that respect – but now I’m starting to figure out how to draw properly in Illustrator and get CADs and put them into production.
What do you wear yourself? I’m very much a believer in wearing the brands I represent. Not always, obviously, but my regular uniform day-to-day is, like, Silent tees, PRPS jeans, Sandro, bits of Damir Doma mainline.
Your first collection had a lot of social commentary in it. I was always into combining words and images to create something in people’s head. It doesn’t necessarily have to be what I would take from it.
What sort of thought went into the SS13 collection? When I was putting it together I was really dying for a holiday, which most of us are after the shows. That was one of the main themes. I also felt like it was stuck in a monochromatic rut, which I wanted to try and lift it out of by putting more colour into it – pinks and greens and stuff.
Would ever want to just do TDT? I don’t think I’d ever want to it full-time. Then I’d have to find something new to do next to it.