Interview with Oxford's Industry Magazine: Shop Pyramid Creative Director Will Williams

Industry:  How and when did you become interested in fashion? Is there a specific ‘moment’ that jumps out to you, or a particular avenue you followed that led you to it?

William:  I remember seeing a Hugo Boss runway show on television when I was primary school age and I wanted to wear those suits. I looked myself in the mirror and wondered who I would grow up to be. You could say I’ve always had an interest in fashion. Growing up in the southeastern United States I didn’t have access to fashion that someone growing up in Paris or London might have. I knew it existed and occasionally caught a glimpse in the news or in a women’s fashion magazine in the hair salon while I waited for my mother (remember this is all pre internet). My ideas of fashion and style, as a youth, came mostly from my imagination; in some ways I think they still do.


I:  What does ‘fashion’ mean to you?

W: I do genuinely feel that fashion is art. It’s an investment and it shapes our lives, both how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. A garment should be cherished and passed down to your children or across to your friends. It’s something that defines and accents you and makes you feel good. Each purchase is a step closer to an ideal and you becoming the person you dream of. Fashion can be luxurious and loud or functional and subtle; it’s really up to you to decide how you’ll spend your money and exercise your creativity in your wardrobe.


I:  How would you describe your wardrobe, and your approach to fashion?

W: My personal wardrobe is a bit compartmentalised. I’ve got my suits and I’ve got my denim and casual clothing. My approach can be summed up by this, “I never want to be underdressed.” I believe the complete outfit includes all accoutrements, else I feel half dressed.


I:  What inspires you daily?

W:  I’ve got two sides. One part of me loves adventure and going new places. Art galleries, architecture, restaurants, and theater really inspire me. My other side likes to live in a box. I find inspiration in my furniture, my books, my clothes, and my surroundings.


I:  As a photographer, what do you seek to achieve in an image?

W:  I want to admire it and be drawn back to it. I want the personal satisfaction of being pleased with an image I’ve created. I prefer to be straight on in front of my subject and capture the mood of the setting and a bit about them they don’t tell everyone. I want the viewer to feel a bridge of personal connection to the subject.


I:  What really ‘speaks’ to you in an image?

W:  An image that is framed, in my opinion, perfectly like a Wes Anderson frame. It speaks to me if I see it and I want to be there and be a part of it.


I:  Do you consider photography an art form?

W:  Absolutely, photography is art. You can simplify it or over complicate it. You can spend hours or only seconds creating a shot. I think the test of time is what determines what the label of art is applied to. If you go back to it and you get that feeling over and over again then I think that’s art.


I:  Can, and should, fashion be ‘functional’?

W:  It doesn’t have to be. That’s a personal decision. Lady Gaga represents fashion, but usually not functionality. I like the brands that are functional. For me and my customers wearability is huge. That said, there are pieces that are must haves that you may only wear once a year, but it’s that art factor that makes that piece indispensable.


I:  What gave you the inspiration for setting up Shop Pyramid?

W:  I wanted to create a place where women could come and experiment with their ideas of fashion. We are bringing together designers who all share a common theme and ethos of luxury, but are not complicated in their design. We are offering a selection of colours and materials that blend easily. My goal is to deliver a closet that has endless opportunities for a new exciting look everyday.


I:  How has this process been for you so far?

W:  It’s been really nice. I enjoy travel and my adventurous side loves discovering a new designer and bringing them into our edit. I’ve met so many fantastic creative people who all share my passion. It’s been rewarding and I look forward to many more seasons and many more adventures for Shop Pyramid.


I:  How would you describe the ‘flavour’ of your chosen pieces (for Shop Pyramid)?

W:  Our edit really allows for creativity and trying new looks. A lot of it lends itself to the well-informed consumer who really loves fashion, but I don’t want that to be intimidating. When you try something on that is foreign to you, it’s exciting and I think that’s when you see something in yourself that might have been hidden all along; something confident and beautiful. I hope that women feel that they can experiment in their wardrobes and have a place to play here. In the end we have put together all these pieces in a way that makes it really hard to go wrong.


I:  What characteristics would you say the budding fashionista or entrepreneur needs to possess?

W:  I think you need to have a grasp on who you are, even if that is a work in progress. Have a defined styled and develop it so that you and your style are synonymous. Also, network endlessly and be valuable to others; try to add value to every situation. Put in the hours and research your industry and interests. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for favours and reach out to those who have made it, respectively, they are more often than not happy to help you or give you a little guidance along the way.


I:  What’s the long-term plan? How do you see your future panning out?

W:  I’m looking for sustainable growth for Shop Pyramid. I want to add new designers each season that share our vision and keep the relationships with existing partners mutually beneficial and fun. Relationships both personally and in business are very important to me. I like to try and take the time to be the best partner in business I can be and also be the best server of my customer. Everyone is important on both sides and we all really share the same passions. It’s a special position to be in with Shop Pyramid and getting to share what I love with so many people.


Interview by Daniella Schutze


I think that’s when you see something in yourself that might have been hidden all along; something confident and beautiful.

Get To The Peak Of Style