Today marks the start of SS20 London Fashion Week. Led by TIGI European Session Director, Maria Kovacs, the TIGI Session Team were backstage at designer Mark Fast’s show at the BFC Show Space.

For several years Maria has worked with Mark and has built up a strong relationship, based on mutual respect and understanding. Each season she looks forward to working with him, supporting his personal vision for his show.

Maria’s planning begins with several phone calls to chat through ideas. Then, a few days before the show, she meets Mark at his London studio for the hair test where they review his mood-board and concepts, and discuss her vision for the hair.  Together they agree on the look and Maria then works on a model to create the hairstyle she and her team will create on the day.

We took the opportunity at the hair test to chat to Mark about his inspiration, his muses, and his work.

TIGI 2017 LFW SS18 Mark Fast _ABH_9626 copy
TIGI 2017 LFW SS18 Mark Fast _ABH_9626 copy

Where did your inspiration for this season’s show come from?

The inspiration for this collection started when I was looking through my National Geographic magazines and fell in love with the colours of the Amazon; the  macaws, birds of paradise, and different species that live there and how inspired we all are from it and don’t realise. The next thing I started to think was what a rave in the jungle would be like. So I took inspiration from neon lights mixed with the graffiti-like tribal, animalistic characteristics of the jungle.

A few months later, there was the horrible news that the Amazon was on fire. I was horrified and so upset. All this beauty that I was researching and being inspired by was disappearing! So now this collection is a tribute to the beauty, colours and creations that are being lost, and the hope of the Amazon rainforest to live on. This is a neon rave party in the Amazon.

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shutterstock_1245792949 copy
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shutterstock_149758160 copy

How long before your show do you start preparing?

I usually start thinking of the next collection on the Eurostar to Paris. That always seems to be the time when I have a moment to myself with no distractions and it’s quiet.

I do have to think many months ahead though, because there are a lot of things that need to be developed before fashion week starts again. It really does move very quickly.

How many people help you create your collections?

We have a great team of knitwear specialists and an amazing style team. We are constantly working and developing our looks and our vision throughout the year.

Do you have a particular woman in mind when you are designing your collection?

This season my muse is 90s’ Chloe Sevigny and 90s’ Madonna. I love the way they used masculine tailoring mixed with their casual separates. Of course I had to put their risqué show-stopping pieces in the mix too.

Do you always have a favourite outfit in every collection or do you love everything?

Every day it changes. One day I love the couture pieces, the next day I’m in love with the boots, then the next the bodycon looks. Everything should be my favourite! I don’t send anything down the runway that isn’t the best of the best. There is a lot of editing before the show. This is the part I love the most: mixing it up and creating something unexpected; something that surprises me. We never know the end result and this is what I love about fashion; the organic process.

How important is the hair and make-up to you in creating the overall looks for your show?

It’s everything. The hair, the make-up, the styling, the shoes; everything is connected. If one thing is off, the whole look changes. That’s why I have kept the team I have for the longest time, because we have a great relationship and we understand each other.

TIGI 2017 LFW AW17 Mark Fast_ABH_9438 copy
TIGI 2017 LFW AW17 Mark Fast_ABH_9438 copy
Maria and Mark discussing the look for his show

Do you have a clear vision for the hair or do you wait until you have the hair test with Maria?

I have a mood and idea of what I see the collection looking like, but I wait to hear from Maria about what she thinks of it and her take on how the overall look should be. She brings the vision to life. I always love the energy she brings to my team.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is wearing an emotion and energy. Its not just clothes, it’s a statement of the times and about influencing history and making an imprint on the earth.

What would you say to a young person embarking on a fashion degree course this month?

I would say that research is key. Put down your phone, and get into the library. The digital age is great in so many ways. But what it does, it makes us lazy and we only look at what’s given to us. We need to go deeper and find something else in books and old magazines. Developing a skill or craft will be the best thing you ever do. We are so distracted with social media and creating personas we forget to develop the skills that will give us longevity in the industry. Work hard and it will pay off in the end. And remember: It doesn’t happen over-night.

Once the show is over… what do you do?

After the show, I have one day off where I do nothing, but just go over in my head what just happened. It’s a whirlwind of excitement and intense moments. Then it’s off to Paris to do my showroom where we have a whole new experience with the buyers. And then, straight onto the next season.

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shutterstock_264997694 copy

Find out more about Mark Fast at or @mark_fast