The creative genius behind the iconic Palace Skateboards logo talks about the link between music and fashion and reveals his uncanny style influences, as part of our Bold Minds Speak series.
Anyone with an interest in streetwear will have seen Palace Skateboards’ iconic Penrose triangle logo. Designed by Fergus Purcell, this, and his countless other graphics have been copied, coveted, and elevated to cult status. Purcell joined us at the Bread & Butter preview event to talk about his aesthetic that brings a subversive touch and punk sensibility to brands like Marc Jacobs, womenswear line Aries and Californian skate label KR3W. Here, we chatted to Purcell about his fresh fashion philosophy, why he loves Berlin and his unconventional style icon.
How did you get into fashion?
I slipped into it by accident. I thought I might study it when I was younger, but I’m glad I didn’t because it wouldn’t have suited my temperament. And yet, in being a designer and interested in the visual – the pool of fashion is just immense. I’ve tried to have a career where I work like an artist, but in a commercial zone. I deliberately chose not to do fine art or gallery-based art because I’ve experienced them to be very elitist and exclusive, whereas fashion is quite inclusive. It’s so porous, and that’s why I got involved.
Can you tell us about your design approach?
My design approach is based around being conceptual in the ideas that are supposed to be communicated but trying to be very visceral about the way they’re delivered. It’s like how music conveys complex ideas and emotions and delivers them in a chord change. I try to do the same kind of thing with my graphics – by making the surface friendly, inviting and instant but behind that there’s weight, message and something deeper.
What’s your favourite thing about Berlin?
I love it. Having visited in my younger day, I’ve done the usual English-person-come-to-party thing. I’m also obsessed with the music from here from the 70s. Tangerine Dream is one of my favourite bands and they started the music known as the ‘Berlin sound’.
Being bold is…
…easier after having a cup of coffee in the morning.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Persistently believing in the goodness of humanity.