Mark Fast: Slow Down, Fashion!



Mark Fast’s second-skin see-through knits might not leave much to the imagination, but the designer himself has proven that he’s full of surprises. He shocked London Fashion Week after sending plus-sized models to stomp his Spring Runway and he made still more headlines after declining to dress Lady Gaga, denouncing what he dubbed as “fast-food fashion.” Despite Fast’s quasi-controversial episodes, his artful yet racy Spiderman-meets-Lady Godiva dresses have received worthy nods from clientele and critics. So it makes sense that the 29-year-old St. Martins grad would choose to launch a lower-priced line to satiate the growing demand.

Last September, we learned Fast would be hitting the high street with a Spring line for TopShop and more recently, the designer announced plans to debut a diffusion line of his signature dresses, tops and underpinnings. Called Faster (but of course), the line is set to hit stores this February.

KATHARINE ZARRELLA: What’s the beat for your soon-to-hit-stores TopShop line?

MARK FAST: Beautifully crafted sleek dresses. I got my inspiration from exotic birds and the sheen of their feathers. There is such beauty in the details of feathers and how they are constructed. They are dresses for partying and shimmering in the night.


ZARRELLA: With the collaboration already in place, why did you decide to simultaneously create your diffusion line, Faster? What will be some of Faster’s features?

FAST: The Topshop collaboration is about interpreting my main collection through a High Sstreet aesthetic. The Faster line is about luxury basics and underpinnings that work alongside my main collection.

ZARRELLA: Other than price, how will Faster differ from your eponymous collection?

FAST: The Faster line is made in an Italian factory on state-of-the-art industrial machines. I like the way it has allowed me to start creating things I can’t make anyway else. My main line can’t be produced in factories. The results I get from the factory I could never create in my studio by hand.

ZARRELLA: Considering her haute fashion reputation and affinity for the risqué, Lady Gaga seems to be the ideal Mark Fast pin-up. Why decline to dress her?

FAST: Actually, my ideal pin-up would be someone more like Sylvie Guillem, Tilda Swinton or Carine Roitfeld. I love how these women are so chic and their styles appear so effortless. These are women who I admire for their grace and strength of character. Lady Gaga is a great performer but she’s not the kind of woman I have in mind when I’m designing.

ZARRELLA: What, exactly, is “fast food fashion?”

FAST: I see “fast food fashion” as trends that are in one day and out the other. Fashion can move so quickly. I feel I need to create garments that have a sense of style that lasts. For me, it is all about making a woman feel good about her body.

ZARRELLA: Why were you first attracted to knitwear?

FAST: I naturally took an interest in objects of texture. A tutor, Jessica Bugg, linked my eye to a knitting machine. When I got my first machine, I was intrigued  by the endless possibilities and that I was in full control of the fabric.

ZARRELLA: Why the last minute model-swap last season?

FAST: That was a widely misreported fact. I decided to use plus-size models in June of last year and put Hayley [Morley]  and Laura [Catterall] on hold for the show in July, months before I cast any other models.

ZARRELLA: Were you surprised by the controversy surrounding your plus-sized decision?

FAST: Definitely! I didn’t think that would happen. I just wanted to have a beautiful and interesting show.

ZARRELLA: Can we expect to see some voluptuous mannequins working your Fall 2010 runway?

FAST: Of course! Those women are here to stay!

ZARRELLA: Curves aside, can you give us a glimpse into the knitspiration for your upcoming collection?

FAST: The inspiration is capturing the movement of a draped garment from a Dimitri Chiparus sculpture.