Talk with ED

Travis: Who is Ed Mendoza?

Ed: I am a 29-year-old fashion designer from Peru and Grenada who graduated from
Central Saint Martins. I want my work to be very joyous and make people smile because fashion has the power to do that. I care about representing people within fashion and creating clothes that make people smile.

Travis: Describe your clothes in 3 words

Ed: Eye popping, graphic, colourful

Travis: What inspires you?

Ed: My family, friends, and culture. People like you and James, people that are trying to change stuff and take up space and be seen. We’re more than just our sizes we have amazing personalities that are infectious.

Travis: How did it feel to be CSM's first all plus-size collection?

Ed: This was the plan from the beginning and as this was my last chance at the school, I wanted to end it my way. I want to create work that I’m proud of and care about and I am hoping that my collection will make a chain effect to make more people want to do collections like that.

Travis: How did it feel to win the L’Oreal Professionnel Creative Award?

Ed: It was emotional. I couldn't believe it because they didn’t tell you that you won. They told me after we came off the runway that we needed to go to the front. I was just like okay... I saw my other classmate Jessan and then I realised. We actually won! Like, I can’t believe it. I had everyone looking at me, I had to hold my emotions back. It wasn’t until we did the runway and I saw my mum and dad, my tutor and mentor Bernie Yates cheering me on; I couldn’t hold my tears any longer. I felt that this was the moment I felt understood, after studying for 7 years. I hope this inspires other young creatives that design clothes to start working with plus-size people because I shouldn’t be the only one.

Travis: What challenges did you face growing up?

Ed: Understanding how to love yourself from a young age and seeing certain images within advertisements and not seeing yourself represented. Being young, chubby, or different and not being understood is hard. It wasn’t until I met people who were similar to me and had their own ideas and style. I guess from a studying point of view; you’re going to an art school, and you have a lot of people that have the resources and access to intern or work in amazing places. You're kind of competing for jobs or projects; trying to share your vision with people who have the money or backing from parents. When you come from a working-class background, and you’re trying to do something that is creative and different that can be hard.

Travis: Why does representation matter?

Ed: It matters because if we were given that representation from a young age, we would have understood ourselves more like, I'm big, or I'm black or I'm different. People that are in their 40s, 50s also want to see themselves too, feeling acknowledged and understood makes you feel included.

Travis: How do you think mainstream media can change to accommodate an inclusive approach to designers, models and creatives?

Ed: I feel like you need to go down a path to get to where you want to be with magazines.   Imagine if they gave young people & young creatives an opportunity to do crazy stuff in the magazine, this would be amazing!  Women of colour need to oversee fashion houses, it is always very many men. It is important to have people of different cultures in these places, so these companies aren’t creating offensive collections etc. I’ve been to photoshoots where the clothes didn’t fit me meaning I had to bring my own clothes. We shouldn’t have to do this, and I’ve spoken to multiple models, and they have had experiences when the garments don’t fit. Going to fittings and the clothes don’t fit you is a joke. There are so many designers who do plus size clothes - they just need to do research. Plus-size models need to be represented properly, we need to be treated with respect.

Travis: Is male body positivity talked about enough?

Ed: No, I don’t think it is and when you do see it, it's guys who have washboard abs. it’s kind of like male mental health, it’s something that needs to be talked about more. Like how we’re viewed and how we’re expected to look.

Travis: What struggles did you go through that you overcame during the making of your collection?

Ed: The struggles were trying to figure out what I wanted to do while being pushed by the tutors to do the best. Sometimes they never got my work (not that it's wrong) and sometimes they knew I could do better, and they pushed me. It took a lot of work, working with people and collaborating with people, doing things by myself, and then having conversations with my peers where they told me that I need to get help and start delegating people to do stuff. You can’t create everything you want without collaborating and working with people. There were times when I looked like a zombie because I didn’t get enough sleep. Finding models was a huge struggle because I wanted to represent my work properly. I was looking for about eight months for models. Creating this collection wasn’t cheap – in general studying fashion or design courses is expensive. I have to develop textiles and develop fabrics, and I have to level up from what I’ve done in the past.

Travis: I agree you need to work at your own speed and do what’s best for you. You have done an amazing job with the collection, and it touched so many people.

Ed: I think that's the most important thing in life to do things that make you happy. I really want to keep doing ceramics and clothes.

Travis: What should we expect from you next?

Ed: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I don’t know. I really want to make some stuff, I’m not sure. I want to take it at my own pace. I feel like you’re expected to do so much especially after winning a prize - you’re expected to break out and do all things.