17 Questions with… Christopher Raeburn

Quick fire questions with The Lab E20's creative producer and responsible fashion designer

It’s time to meet the fabulous people living in our homes and neighbourhoods, putting faces to our ever-expanding rental-family, building our community.

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We are thrilled to announce the sparkly new launch of:  The Lab E20. A new creative hub in East Village brought to us by a host of spectacularly intelligent and pretty damn fabulous individuals, including fashion royalty, the space’s designer and producer: Christopher Raeburn (founder of RÆBURN and Global Creative Director of Timberland, nonetheless).

Opening with an all singing and dancing activation from Thursday 29 July, The Lab E20 will then be showcasing a six-month programme with cultural partners including the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion, Loanhood, Fashion Open Studio, The Sustainable Angle and D-Lab – to bring together emerging, local and global innovators in fashion, tech and design to share their principles on positive fashion and sustainable living with the local community.

Residents, students and visitors can get involved in a series of installations, panel discussions, film screenings as well as design and repair workshops classes for all ages.

Over the summer months, free activities will include: workshops where you can make (and take home) RÆBURN’s signature parachute tote bags; a series of kids t-shirt making sessions, an architecture summer school run by D-Lab where students will design habitats appropriate for life on Mars; jewellery making, clothing restore sessions. Events will be open to all but must be booked in advance: via Eventbrite for Raeburn and via D-Lab’s website.

Due to form the stunning space is imbued with RÆBURN’s design philosophy – responsibly considered for easy assembly and disassembly. Everything used to create the space has either been remade from recycled materials or surplus artefacts, such as parachute. All fittings are recyclable for future use.

We grab a few minutes with the man behind the movement…

What to expect from The Lab E20:

17 Questions

1.  How is The Lab E20 project going?
We’ve been working on the project now for close to a year but more intensively over the last two to three months. It’s really exciting how everything’s coming together, there’s been a lot of collaboration and some good challenges. We’re trying to do some pretty innovative things in the space.

2. What can we do to be more sustainable when it comes to fashion?
Probably the best thing that you can do in order to reduce your impact really is to keep things in circulation for as long as possible – so the most sustainable piece of clothing you have is already in your wardrobe. You don’t always need all this new stuff and what we try within RÆBURN is to educate and inspire so  you can make something new from something old and there’s something really cool about that.

 3. What collaboration or design are you most excited about?
So what I’m really excited about within RÆBURN is that we’ve been able to push our ethos into so many different areas and now to be able to collaborate on an amazing space like The Lab E20, wow, you know that’s super cool so hopefully my best collaboration is the one coming up!

4. What do you love about London?
London’s such an incredible place and over the last 18 months especially it’s really made me appreciate London even more. It’s such a unique space with all of the culture but then also so much greenery, you kind of take that a little bit for granted sometimes, but it’s something when I visit other cities it only focuses me again on how cool London is when I get back.

5. What does style mean to you?
Style’s about whatever’s personal and feels right to you. I think its really important to be comfortable with what you wear and the way that you hold yourself. It’s the energy you hold with you.

6. Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration for me just comes from so many different places. I’m a big fan of getting out to thrift stores and flea markets whenever I’m travelling, but then here its all about antique shops. I spend a lot of time researching and trying to get inspired but often by the most unlikely thing, it might be you know… a beautiful wooden eggcup or just something that maybe other people wouldn’t look at, but I’m a big fan of just simple things that are really well made.

7. How are you feeling about the future of fashion?
So the reality of the last 18 months is I think we’ve all really woken up a lot more to our own impact on the environment. The thing I really hope within the fashion industry is that we don’t go back to business as usual and we look for new, much more positive ways of making garments, of thinking about circularity and doing everything we can to reduce our impact.

8. What can we expect from your part in the PREVIEW programme?
So without giving too much away I’m obviously super excited about what we’ll be doing within The Lab E20. So much of what we do within RÆBURN is about craft, creativity and community so we’ll be doing amazing workshops where people can get hands on, they’ll be able to cut their own parachutes, we’ll be teaching people how to do repairs, we’ll be doing all these different things essentially to teach a bit of craft and creativity in real time, that’s the best way to get people inspired.

9. What events at The Lab E20 are you most excited about?
I’m really looking forward to the whole programme of events actually and not just ours within RÆBURN. There’s such an exciting range of different things that are going to be happening over the six month period, so although we’ll be working on workshops and we’ll be showing films and doing all this cool stuff, I’m as excited about what I’ll be learning and seeing from the folks that’ll be down there too.

10. What would you say to people who think fashion is elitist?
Fashion can certainly have a bit of a reputation of being quite elitist, a little bit kind of smoke and mirrors at times but within RÆBURN it’s all about transparency. It’s all about accessibility and that’s why I’m so excited about what we’re doing down at The Lab E20 because it’s all about actually opening the doors, inviting people in to actually see things being made, to get hands on, to learn, to inspire, to discuss you know and hopefully learn something and do something really positive together.

11. What is your go-to outfit?
So my go-to outfit at the moment is very much about always having comfort. A really high quality cotton t-shirt and then I always like to represent the brand a little bit so I’m normally wearing something RÆMADE, I’ve got a parachute jacket that used to be an air break parachute on today.

12. What are you most proud of within RÆBURN?
Within the studio here we have our own archives, so we’ve always kept one of everything that’s been really special that we’ve RÆMADE and what’s going to be cool will be showing elements of that down at The Lab E20 as well. So again it’s about choosing some of our favourite pieces and having them on display and allowing people to get, again hands on, to try things, touch things and I think that’s so important.

13. What’s the last thing you bought?
Genuinely, the last thing I bought was our Boardies® collaboration. So we’ve done this amazing swimwear collab with a fantastic brand called Boardies® and bought some super cool swim shorts and a really amazing Tencel shirt and it is so comfortable.

14. What should we buy?
I think the first thing to acknowledge if you’re looking to reduce your impact in terms of buying new clothes is well how many do you need right? I’m a big advocate for buying less, buying better and yeah try and do everything you canto reduce your impact.

15. How can we make our clothes last?
There’s a few things you can do to make clothes last. So the first thing of course is to make things well to begin with. Here within RÆBURN we’re really proud of what we make, it’s incredibly long lasting and we also offer free repairs for life on any of our garments so we really see it as being a partnership, you know, if someone buys a product from us actually that’s where the journey begins rather than just ‘thank you very much’ it’s actually ‘no lets keep that thing going for as long as we possibly can.’

16. What other designers should we have on our radar?
So the person I find so inspiring is Bethany Williams. Bethany’s just been doing amazing work in social manufacturing, working with communities around the world to make incredible products. She’s doing it in such a positive way and I just think what she’s been doing is fantastic.

17. Where do you see RÆBURN 10 years from now?
Yeah 10 years down the line I’m just super excited about how far we can push the world of RÆBURN. Really excited to be working now at The Lab E20 and starting to think about how spaces can work in different ways. So going forward 10 years, we dare to dream, it’s not just about RÆMADE in England – it could be RÆMADE in Japan or RÆMADE in China or USA. We’ve got this amazing opportunity to think about everything that goes around the world, the architecture, the product design, the furniture as well as the clothing.