We caught up with Michael Horncastle - Twisted Tailor designer who's been shaping the brand's aesthetics and giving it its iconic twist.
How did you come across Twisted Tailor?
I’d been following Twisted Tailor for a while as they were already a bestselling brand on ASOS before I joined. I loved the punk attitude, flamboyant fabrics, and great skinny cut - it was the first time I’d really seen exciting, designer tailoring that was also affordable. When the opportunity to join the team arose, I couldn’t turn it down!
What inspires your designs?
We have a real mix of inspiration sources - At Uni and in previous positions, I learnt the importance of varied research. If your only inspiration for a floral jacket is another floral jacket, you’re just going to produce a third-rate version of the original.
I go to a lot of exhibitions and have a keen interest in textile and graphic design. Recently I’ve really got into typography which helps me look at shapes, colour, and pattern in a completely different form.
A lot of the design comes from the fabric first and foremost. We work with excellent mills, and I love sourcing and selecting fabric. Every season there’ll be a few key styles where the fabric does all the talking - it makes my job a lot easier!
Which – of the trends that have landed on the catwalks – are the biggest and why?
I think print clashing and the trend of juxtaposing patterns have really given me freedom in print design. I’ve been able to combine so many components; layering textures, animal prints and florals to create new and exciting prints that are completely exclusive to us.
Animal print is a trend that has been going strong for a few seasons now. This is great for us because there are so many ways we can translate it for Twisted Tailor, and we’ve really pushed the boundaries this season. Aside from the loud printed shirts, we’ve got both flocking and metallic foiling animal prints on a variety of bases and in a great selection of colours.
We keep a keen eye on trends every season, but we resist relying too heavily on them. Certain things - dark floral prints, metallics, wedding checks - will be popular every season and we’ll always offer them. However, we’re always hunting for the newest, most exciting fabrics, colours and shapes. We always want to stay ahead of our competition, it’s important to us that we provide something you can’t get anywhere else. For me, Twisted Tailor is defined by its incredible fabric, beautiful cut, and great detailing. Most importantly, Twisted Tailor will never be boring.
Animal prints are everywhere. How do you style a leopard print jacket or a snake print shirt?
It’s really a case of confidence - you can’t let the clothes wear you - but it also depends on the type of person wearing it. If you’re trying it for the first time, pair it with plain staple pieces (black Ellroy or Sylvester trousers, plain shirt / roll neck) or, if you’ve got the confidence, go all out and get matching snakeskin cowboy boots or print clash with something equally loud on your lower half! The most important thing is how you feel when you’re wearing it.
Do you think Men’s Fashion and Women’s are intertwined?
Absolutely - and the lines are blurring more and more which is fantastic. With menswear icons like Bretman Rock, Lil Nas X, and Yungblud challenging gender norms, and women wearing more and more tailoring, we’re seeing a real cultural shift in people being able to wear what they want, and what makes them happy.
When we’re designing the collection, we look at both menswear and womenswear - if a jacket looks good, it doesn’t matter who it’s on. We always have our non-conventional fabrics and fits that set the brand apart - and a lot of this is thanks to strong womenswear influences in fabrication, print and colour direction.
What do you think plays as the biggest influence in Menswear?
Music and fashion have always had a strong connection. When you look at iconic artists like Bowie and the Stones, their stage outfits alone have been displayed in exhibitions. We’re lucky to work with some fantastic bands and artists who wear our clothing regularly. We’ve dressed some of my music heroes and I’ve seen our clothes being worn live on stage - honestly, that’s a dream come true.
We’ve also seen the rise of the influencer and fashion bloggers; I love seeing how differently people style our clothing – whether it be more classic for wedding tailoring or dressing it down for streetstyle. It’s great to see such variation and versatility from the same garment. It also makes it a lot easier for customers to see how else they can wear certain pieces, and really get the most out of their favourite clothes.
What’s special about wearing Twisted Tailor?
Twisted Tailor has always had a focus on occasion wear. A lot of the younger customers will be buying their first suits for prom, we get a lot of grooms-to-be and wedding guests, as well as anyone looking for that stand out party piece that you just can’t find anywhere else. Fashion should always be fun, and when we’re designing the range for each season, I’m always thinking about how that customer is going to feel putting on that jacket for the first time. That transformation when you wear well fitted tailoring as you stand up straight, relax your shoulders and suddenly you’re taller, more confident - you’re unstoppable.
That key party piece can really turn heads and make anyone centre of attention and the talk of the party. It really means the world to me that we can provide that confidence boost to our customers and provide them with clothes in which they can make unforgettable memories.