Photography and fashion are merged effortlessly by second year Loughborough student John Cronin in his first clothing line for his new business venture, Retrousse. His fashion line uses relevant and energetic photography, which is edited to create a vintage and washed look, producing a range of t-shirts appealing to a large and diverse audience. Cronin’s idea is to use his company to work with upcoming creative talent, using athletes, artists, dancers etc. to model his collection, seeking the opportunity to establish Retrousse as more than purely a clothing brand.

Marketed at an affordable price, competing against high street retailers, t-shirts are priced below 25GBP each, and with the promise of student discounts and regular online competitions, a Retrousse t-shirt is set to become a student necessity.

It was an honour to catch up with John and ask him about his inspiration, his photography and his future in fashion…

Where did your inspiration stem from?

“My inspiration stemmed from a t-shirt brand I love called 'Johnny Cupcakes'. If you take a look at their website you will understand the whole premise of 'baking' their tees to perfection and instead of putting them in a bag when you buy them – they come in a cupcake box. They've really made it about more than just a t-shirt and given their brand a fun, creative outlook that makes you feel a part of something, that's what I aim to do with Retrousse.”

How did you choose the images and printing process for your collection?

“Most of the images I have used stem from photos I took in Malta and Spain. Another was shot in Loughborough and the rest were taken in Camden Town – the home of alternative style, which I think matches what Retrousse, is about. I decided to choose photographs that I had happened to take by chance. There isn't really a common theme within the collection – I wanted there to be something for everyone. The T-shirt Factory in Loughborough has helped me out considerably in terms of deciding on colours and materials and all tees will be 100% high quality cotton. When the tees are printed, we want to film and document the process to give customers an idea of what they are becoming a part of.”

What do you have in mind for the future of Retrousse?

“There will be a bunch of logo tees for guys and girls coming out soon after the initial collection and I am already working on ideas and designs for a summer collection, including vests that may include sketches as opposed to purely photographic prints. I am very much taking it as it comes however; the market for clothes and fashion is changing all the time.”

How did you start Retrousse?

“I've always been creative from a young age, and at sixteen I became interested in photography. Over the summer I realised I wanted to add another dimension to my interest and start a new, exciting project. Most of the initial designing was done over summer so there weren’t any issues with university work. This year, coursework deadlines have been kind to me however…”

Do you have any tips for those starting small businesses at University?

“The tees draw together two things I enjoy – photography and fashion and are a fairly simple place to start when it comes to designing your own garments. Retrousse is by no means a success yet and I wouldn't like to give tips on how to run a business – read SIR Alan Sugar's book for that but in my experience – delay putting any money into it until you absolutely have to, spend your time brainstorming, understanding your target market and forming a plan with long and short term goals. Ask yourself what is different about your idea/project to one's already out there – what is the selling point?” 

My favourite in his collection is the 'Camden Lock NW1' Tee in chalk white, of which the digital representation is printed above. Check out the pages below to follow the collection. Keep it Retrousse!

If you would like to find out and view more of John's collection, make sure you check out his Facbeook page, Twitter and Tumblr pages for Retrousse.


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