Fashion Designer Craig Green Once Shopped at Primark and Was Scarred for Life

Interview by Zac Bayly

When 26-year-old menswear designer Craig Green sent models down the runway with planks of broken wood jutting out from their faces at last year’s London Collections, he stole the show. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2012, he’s collaborated with big name fashion, but he’s always done so without compromise. I dropped by his East London studio to discuss his love of DIY aesthetics, and how that’s translated in his new teen-inspired, tie-dyed collection which will be shown this weekend.

Zac: What did you do on the weekend?
Craig: My Greek boyfriend was here. He’s in Paris at the moment, so he can just jump on the Eurostar. We went out for a pub lunch, and I got way too drunk. You know when you have an accidental drunken day? A planned event is never as good.
Totally. By the way, I’m going to be blinking a lot this evening. My hayfever is playing up. It looks like I have a nervous twitch.
I have that all the time. My contact lenses are driving me wild. I have to wear mine because I have such a lazy eye. The contacts make them both normal, but when I take them out, one of my eyes goes crossed. Luckily, my boyfriend likes lazy eyes, which is weird. Thank god for contact lenses! I’d look like the village idiot otherwise. You know: ginger, lazy eye…
Ginger is back! So haute right now.
I’m not a full ginger though. It’s like a brown-yellow ginger. I’ve got brown hair, a ginger beard, and blonde eyebrows. My eyebrows are actually kind of highlighter-green.
Have you got a fire bush?
They’re bright, but they’re sort of between blonde and ginger. They’re not like orange.
You have beautiful hands.
Beautiful hands?! They’re builder’s hands. I’ve got Cumberland sausages for fingers. I wanted to play the piano, but I’d hit like two keys at a time. My hands come from my dad. He’s a plumber. His hands are bigger than mine. I come from non-delicate people. My uncles are carpenters and my godfather’s an upholsterer.
How do they feel about you being a fashion designer?
They are supportive. When I was making a choice between fashion and architecture, my uncle said, ‘How many artists and fashion designers do we really need in the world? If you’re an architect, you can at least get a job as a surveyor.’ But whether or not they like or understand it, they aren’t damning of my fashion involvement.
Are you a coffee or Diet Coke man?
Diet Coke. I used to drink a lot of it, but not so much any more. My mum drinks like twenty cans a day! She is a carer and works nights, like seven days a week. I’m always preaching to her about drinking water instead. I do have a lot of caffeine, especially when I’m on deadline.
How old are you?
Twenty-six. I know I look aged.
You do not!
You’re a liar, but thank you. I’m getting dark bags under my eyes. I looked at a picture of myself three years ago, and I thought I looked bad back then, but god, I looked so much better. I shouldn’t have worried, I should have celebrated! That’s just going to keep happening as we get older. Let’s just hope we turn into sexy daddies.
You’ll age well. You’ve got that manly look.
I hope so.
I’m terrified of losing my hair.
Same. It’s because my head’s giant. I can’t wear hats.
I look like Jupiter when I wear a beanie.
My head’s like a pumpkin. When people lose their hair, they fall back on a cool hat, but that’s not going to happen for us, is it?
When I click onto your website, the first thing I see is man with a heap of wood on his face. Is that meant to be symbolic? All that wood poking men’s faces…
Maybe… I’ve never looked at it like that. It could be read into sexually. I mean, I never think about the sexual side of my collections. I do it first then think about it.
What were your boyhood fantasies?
I used to watch wrestling a lot. I guess I would be touching myself… That was like, my first pornography, in a way, before I was old enough to realize why I was enjoying it so much. But that’s not what I try and translate into my collections. It’s not all singlets and long blonde hair.
That would be great!
I guess because I’ve always been around people that work with their hands, I just like making things. I guess that’s why I got into fashion. I like knitters and carpenters and painters. I like things touched by a human hand. That sounds really poncy, doesn’t it?
Not at all… Do you sunburn easily?
So bad. When I go to Greece to visit my boyfriend, I literally have to put factor sixty everywhere.
Have you been to a nudist beach there?
Well, at most of the beaches in Greece you can go nude. It’s not unusual to get naked, even if there are families around. There’s not like a set nudist beach.
Do you feel awkward being naked on the beach?
No, I’m okay with it. Well, if you’re at the beach with your boyfriend, it’s just natural to be naked, but if I was at the beach with my friends, that’d be weird. We’d all be trying to look the other way.
What star sign are you?
I’m a Leo. You know how you can find out your double star sign? Like, you have a sister star sign based on what time you were born. Well, I’m a double Leo, which means I have the worst traits of a Leo — attention-seeking, selfish, vein — multiplied.
You seem like a nice person…
Yeah, but maybe I am attention-seeking. I mean, I make people wear broken bits of wood and walk down the runway. They’re definitely attention-seeking clothes…
Are you a dominant person?
I don’t think I’m overbearing.
You must know what you want.
Yeah, but aren’t most fashion designers famously insecure? You’re kind of always under scrutiny with everything you do.
Do you mind?
I’m getting used to it.
What other kind of jobs have you had?
I worked at Topman and Jigsaw when I was at school. I did lots of weird jobs too. I did one where it was like, dressing up as a grim reaper in car parks of shopping centers around London shaking this bloody sign that said ‘KILL YOUR SPEED’ while wearing this terrifying costume. I had a black sheet covering me. They also had this amateur dramatics thing, where people would go with you into the car park and sing songs about dying on the road.
What’s the best sex you’ve ever had?
My boyfriend and I have a lot of good sex. I know this is going to sound really mushy, but I think the best sexual experiences are when it’s love-making and fucking at the same time. It’s got to be passionate. A lot of people think your best experience should be something like, ‘Ooh, I once I had sex on a nudist beach with a weird guy…’ That’s a good story, but it probably wasn’t the best sex of your life. Well, it’s not the best sex I’ve ever had.
Are you a top or a bottom?
I’d say I’m versatile, even though I don’t believe in versatile — it’s always one or the other.
What makes your boyfriend so sexy to you?
It’s his eyebrows. He has these really thick eyebrows, like almost a monobrow. And he has really big, bright-blue eyes. And he’s Greek, so he has this really dark olive skin. He’s very macho as well. I guess it’s more his manner.
Are you cut or uncut?
Uncut.
How would you describe your penis?
I think if you saw a picture of my cock, you’d think I’m older than I am. It looks wiser than me.
It’s seen things.
It’s definitely seen things.

End