British fashion designer Nigel Cabourn has designed the capsule collection “Element by Nigel Cabourn–Designed in England,” an offspring of the US skateboarding brand Element. While bringing his sartorial aesthetics and love for sportswear design heritage, he mixed them with Element’s historical background and contemporary sportswear and created a fresh, avant-garde skateboarding collection for s/s 2020. Cabourn explained his vision of this project and the sportswear market’s evolution.
What are the characteristics of this s/s 2020 collection?
This collaboration collection has its roots firmly in sportswear and takes influence from the sport of cricket. When I started out in the ’80s my first brand was called Cricket and I produced a collection that was influenced by the sport but, as always, I also added functional details from military and expedition clothing. I like clothes that not only look good but are also functional–this is really important to me and I think this is true for Element and its customers–it’s important to look cool but the clothes have to be fit for purpose and hard wearing too.
Was this spring/summer 2020 collection your first collaboration for Element?
No, our first one will launch this fall/winter 2019-20 season. It is inspired by the founder of Element, Johnny Schillereff and his background growing up in the US military and of course, his love of skateboarding. In particular, we looked right back to skateboarding in the ’60s for inspiration and combined it with military styles of this time.
How is your collaboration evolving?
The collaboration is evolving in a really positive way and it’s a brand I really enjoy working with. We both have something to bring to the table in terms of ideas and expertise. Element has nearly 30 years experience in the skateboarding and streetwear market, which is really cool and inspiring for me. What I offer is over 50 years of creating designs influenced by military and expedition clothing, sportswear and a rich archive made up of 4,000-plus vintage garments collected over 40 years. Together we’re able to combine this history and resource, and produce something really special and different that has a bit of Cabourn handwriting but still has the Element ethos at heart.
How is sportswear evolving from your point of view?
I think sportswear has always had a cross appeal–styles traditionally worn or developed for a particular sport have quite often been adopted by young people and fashion movements over the decades. Obviously, sportswear has evolved tremendously over the years in terms of the development of technical fabrics and designs to increase performance for elite athletes, but I think now a lot of the big sports brands also have an eye on the wider audience in terms of streetwear and popular culture when producing collections–actively cultivating those relationships and markets.