The Luxury Editor had the pleasure of interviewing Eddy Downpatrick, founder of Highlands and Islands-inspired menswear brand, FIDIR. Full-time daydreamer and would-be full-time adventurer. Read on to find out more about the man behind the brand.
Tell us more about the lightbulb moment for FIDIR and how you went on to create a successful brand.
Hiking Beinn Deargh above Ullapool in the embers of a summer’s day, I realised I wanted to create products that could in some way express what I felt about that part of the world, the rarefied light, the brooding gloom, all of it. Having brought the initial idea to my now business partner a couple of years ago, FIDIR has evolved into what it is now and is evolving into what it’ll be in years to come.
What does a typical day involve for you? If such a thing exists!
Frustration, joy, laughter, a desire to put fist through the wall or lift heavy things… learning more than just one new thing. I don’t function without exercise … everything else (design ideas, remembering to call my mother etc.) falls into place around that.
The designs are inspired by the Scottish Highlands, tell us why you chose this influence for your collections.
Nowhere else in the world makes me quite so misty eyed. Rarefied light… brooding gloom… there’s a lot of the sensorial to be taken from that.
The word Fidir, is associated with feel, experience, explore. Are these characteristics important to you and are they are reflection of oneself?
I’m a sensitive sort so… yes. There’s the affectation, but hopefully a predominance of credibility to ‘Eddy the adventurer’ and hence the expounding of the tri-partite meaning. My daydreaming tends to focus around whichever adventure’s coming next. FIDIR wouldn’t have come about without that ever-present itch.
In a previous interview you have noted there is a clear distinction between wearing clothes and fashion. Please elaborate.
In a very cryptic, round-about-the-houses way I think I meant that there’s a difference between wearing stuff, not necessarily ‘fashionable’, that works for you rather than for a prescribed or preconceived idea.
You read modern languages at University, does this translate into a love for travel?
The year abroad definitely factored into my decision-making process, so yes. That’s not to ignore the satisfaction of communicating to people in their own language.
If you had to spend your time in one country only which would it be and why?
As predictable as this will sound, it would be Scotland. There is masses in the way of extraordinary beauty and the time it takes to get completely off-grid is minimal. The arid sense of humour and a host of mates notwithstanding, that’d be the place for me.
Anywhere still on your travel to-do list?
The two poles, starting with the Greenlandic Arctic. Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. The archipelago connecting Siberia to Alaska. Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Western China on horseback.
You always travel with black tie ensemble – as a just in case measure. Have you ever had to use it in a case of emergency?
I really don’t… it was suggested that I say that in an interview and I’ve no idea why I agreed to it. Much less glamorously, I always travel with running kit. Serves you much better.
What is the one piece of advice someone has given you that you would whole heartedly pass on?
Brutal as this sounds, some advice from my mother before I undertook a quadrathlon around Loch Tay two years ago: ‘remember, it’s only pain, and pain is something you can compute’. I believe very strongly that this advice applies beyond physical exertion.
Luxury has many different interpretations. What does it mean to you?
The feeling from a product or experience that breaks an individual’s upper ceiling of expectation.
Finally, please share any forthcoming exciting plans for FIDIR.
We’ll be adding new, staple pieces to our collection in the early part of this year, creating some beautiful content for our social media channels, and entering into an exciting collaboration, which for the moment, is a closely-guarded secret.
Lord Edward Downpatrick
Founder and Creative Director of FIDIR
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