Barrett works from a huge, tailor-made studio in Milan that is filled with polystyrene boards that he dyed dark grey to blend in with the black walls. “I like order,” he explains. “Everything is pinned on those boards: research, designs, historical notes, prints.”
He speaks Italian with a “really strong British accent”, which is a source of amusement for his colleagues. What’s his most-used word at work? “Hmm. Facciamo, which means let’s do this!” he laughs. One thing he hopes will not receive the facciamo treatment is Brexit. “Brexit will affect all designers regarding importation into Britain, prices will be different. Which is terrible. I think it’s a totally ridiculous, antiquated move.”
When he started his own brand in 1999, Barrett’s goal was to stay independent for 20 years, something he’s achieved in 2019, despite “flattering offers from most of the biggies to buy me out” over the years. So what happens in 2020? “Well, we have options and it’s now about choosing the correct one. A new chapter – it’s very exciting.”
Neil Barrett’s capsule collection is available exclusively at Harvey Nichols Dubai in Mall of the Emirates.