The following interview was written by Jessica Warren for Montreal Nightlife Magazine (www,nightlifemagazine.ca) on March 25, 2008.
An interview with the brains behind one of the hottest lines in Montreal gave me an insight into Quebec’s growing fashion scene, as Clayton Evans let me in on his fascination with modern dance, tubular spandex outfits (“when it arrives in that shape I never want to cut it!”) and his desire for Montreal designers to break out of the province and across the international border.
Clayton Evans is the creative genius and designer behind the unisex Montreal based line Complex Geometries. Originally from Alberta, Evans moved here five years ago after graduating from the Alberta College of Design to start his own line. The concept behind Complex Geometries is very minimalist, yet designed in an intricate and interesting way; as Evans puts it “the line itself is a balance between challenging and comfortable”. The simple lines of the pieces, usually made of silk and jersey, play off the different geometrical shapes used by Evans resulting in a line of clothes that is cool and fresh without trying too hard. The name for his line was inspired by Buckminster Fuller (creator of geodesic dome), who acted as a modern muse for Evans because of his societal consciousness and beautiful creative constructions.
Before moving to Montreal, Evans thought that the fashion community would be superficial and competitive, but instead found other Montreal designers to be a source of creative influence and a point for Evans to jump off of with his own ideas and designs. He looks to other contemporary designers and thinks it is important to be aware of the fashion community to see what is going on and “then to go beyond your peers”. Vintage clothing is another big influence behind the creative aspect of Complex Geometries as Evans starts each collection with a “specific yet vague theme”, such as “Sex of the Ancients” for his Fall/Winter 2007 collection.
After starting the line in Fall of 2005, Evans says he got “crazy lucky” when Complex Geometries was snatched up by a Japanese distributor two years ago, catapulting his career to the point where Evans is now constantly flooded with retailers from the States wanting to carry his line. However, Evans has a clear and exclusive idea of how he sees his line; “I want to be selective about where the line is carried (you won't find him at Montreal Fashion Week)… everything that I do is handpicked and personal”. Evan’s attention to detail is the main factor that has taken Complex Geometries to where it is now, as he maintains a personal interaction in every step of the process; “I don’t hand off sketches to other people. The design is just me, the fabric and a mannequin”. Evans sees his line as extremely interactive and compatible with all different kinds of people; “I like to think it [Complex Geometries] is for people who think about their clothes rather than people who are just trying to look sexy. Anyone can wear it from a supermodel to grandma!” As for the integration of shapes themselves, which he uses as an ever constant, always relevant form of creative imagery, Evans loves rectangles and circles the best! “Rectangles because that’s the shape fabric comes in and I love the challenge of using it without wasting it, and circles because they automatically create beautiful shapes on the body.”
In the future, Evans plans to continue expanding on his already solid market and hopefully form some collaborative designs with other Montreal designers along the way - maybe even starting a line of shoes and handbags as well. As for something that not many people know about the young designer? He says he has a dry sense of humour that underlies all of his pieces, “most people don’t think it’s funny unless they know what I’m referencing. My clothes are all very humorous, they might look old but they are very light”.
Be sure to watch out for Clayton Evan’s current project, summer 2009. Complex Geometries is sold internationally in Copenhagen, New York, London, Panama City, and Japan and can also be found in Ottawa and Montreal (Reborn) in Canada (price range $65.00-$220.00).