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Monday, 27 April 2015

Rooftop Elevation: Original Penguin, Nettle House, London

For the launch of the new collection from Original Penguin, I worked alongside my friend and fellow Sartorial 7 member Chris Benns to shoot some imagery to reflect the British sensibilities within the brand. Mr Benns, who is also the talented Mens Fashion Editor of Hunger Magazine, has an incredible eye for detail, realising the designs in a whole new way. Surprisingly, this is the first time we've worked together, so I sat down to ask him a few questions about how we got to the end result. See what we created on the rooftop of Netil House in Hackney on an overcast London day below.

After much discussion on concept, we landed on a London skyline as the backdrop. Can you remember how we got to this point?

The London Skyline was the perfect back drop for this project. Not only do we have some of Europe's most iconic buildings on the distance but the city itself is an inspiration for so many. I'm very fortunate to have grown up here but so many others long to live in the Capital. It's the centre of so many creative industries and not only attracts people from the rest of the UK but also from around the world. With this in mind, when we discussed the shoot we thought that having the skyline as the secondary subject was perfect to show how this Original Penguin collection integrates seamlessly into London life.

I totally agree and what I loved was how the styling took us to a very British urban place also. Your layering was spot on to feel contemporary yet real. Can you explain more how you manipulated that element of the shoot reflect the collection?

It was important for me that the shoot itself stood out as a clear reflection of the designs. Obviously it's an American brand but many of the items fit with the British aesthetic by fusing staple men's pieces such as the polo that we all rely on daily. Some designs may appear classic in form at first glance then reveal details such as the reflective button placket that you showed really well in the final imagery. They are multifunctional - can be used for evening and day, and it was this that we picked up on, wanting to capture the idea of translation or movement. I loved your resulting images which included movement within them. In some this is very literal and you see the clothing reacting to this where technical elements really shine. In others you have the ability to really take in some of the finer details where the movement is more subtle.

Can you describe how we landed on Lew as the model for this shoot?

As you know, casting is really crucial for strong images. We wanted to find someone that truly embodied my perception of the Original Penguin consumer: young, athletic and handsome. Someone aspirational but relatable. Lew seems to fit that role perfectly.

After numerous occasions to being in front the camera together with the Sartorial 7, it was the first time we were both behind. How did you find our first time working together in a professional capacity?

It was great fun! Of course, I've been an admirer of your work for some time so I was great to finally get on set and collaborate creatively. It's always nice go work with who understands and respects what you want to do and also brings concepts to the table. The result is a true mix of creativity that has worked out beautifully.