In the fickle world of menswear Nick Ashley is the really deal, and certainly not your typical fashion guy. One minute mixing it up on the track at DirtQuake, the next minute dusting himself down ready for London Fashion Week. As Creative Director of Private White VC he’s forged a vision for a brand which has some of the finest tailoring and manufacturing integrity in the business. So here you go, a few pearls of wisdom from Nick on design, style and all thing petrol fueled. (He also likes the odd cuss word or two, which I heartily approve of. I remember reading once that ‘people who swear often are considered to be more honest and loyal’, not my words but the words of an actual scientist. Too fucking right;)
Your were bought up around fashion and design, was it inevitable that you’d be doing what you are today?
If my parents were farmers, I might have been a farmer, As it was, my father was a printer, I was brought up in an environment of fabric and screens and dye all over the place, my mother did not sketch, so she did not act like a normal designer, making mood boards and shit like that, she was more of an archivist, so I got my inspiration from her, it was so intoxicating I still cannot shake it off.
Which designers or artists inspire you and your work?
I am inspired by Chanel as she helped kick off sport luxe, and I love military combat wear.
Tell us about how Private White came about?
Private White VC was created because the 100 year old factory that we occupy could not survive making clothes for other people, it had to have its own label and be vertically integrated.
The brand has a wonderfully sincere heritage, but how does innovation and technology fit within the ethos?
And whats your personal favourite garment that you make?
My favourite garment this week (!) is the despatch Motortrench , a beautiful blend of design and manufacturing excellence, unfortunately the customers do not agree with me, they have not bought any….and so I hate the tasteless bastards!
How would you describe your own personal style and the clothes do you feel best in?
My personal style is super practical, I travel a lot and motorbikes make my clothes very messy, so everything has to go in a machine to wash, but I am a designer representing a brand, so I need to look fly. I play around with complimentary colours a lot, this smoke screens the fact that I am wearing super casual clothes at formal occasions, my clothes are my best friends and I experiment a lot. Like most men, my clothes solve a problem.
I was aware of Private White, the branding and products looked great, but it wasn’t until I discovered your Instagram that it all joined up, giving a massive amount of credibility and sincerity to the brand. Have you found Instagram useful?
I love Instagram, most of all because it cuts out all the stupid fashion press and media in general, Power to the people I say. Visit Nicks Instagram here
Normally when we interview people for WoT, cars or bikes inevitably get mentioned, but in your case we’ve assembled a whole bunch of wheels specific questions if thats cool?
Which of your bikes would you save in a fire?
In a fire I would save my Cheney Triumph, Eric Cheney built it for me with Bud Ekins ( he did the jump in The Great Escape) both of them dead, that bike means a lot to me, I am welling up at the thought of a fire.
Which car do you wish you’d never sold?
I had a Strange Rover built, a new Range Rover rolling chassis, a 5.7 V8 lump frenched into a Rover p5b coupe body, it was stunning ,but the twats at Overfinch didn’t build it properly and it caused so many problems I flogged it, I could solve them now ( but please don’t track the fucker down!)
You’re raced in the Paris Dakar rally, how was it and would you do it again?
I am still floating on air from the Dakar, I would love to do it again, with one of my daughters driving, the other one DJ, and me Nav, all in a truck…it would cost £250,000, would you sponsor me please?
I love your Rhonda Escort, how’d that beast come about and who built it?
Whats your preferred way to waste and afternoon, in a field on a bike or in a car on a track?
I prefer a bike in the field, I am shit in a car, the high speed is frightening.
What’d be your money no object car/vehicle?
Money no problem car: the Fiat Abarth 595 with full trickery, there are so many speed cameras in this country it’s all about how sideways you can get before hitting the speed limiter.
Money no problem bike: Godet Egli Vincent Flattracker. Oh my fucking God
I reckon you’d like Wheels and Waves event in Biarritz, you should check it out next year? (not really a question, more a recommendation:)
I have been invited to Wheels and Waves every year, but it conflicts with Pitti menswear show, it’s now too late for me to go, it would look uncool to turn up now.
What song is guaranteed to make you dance?
I dance to all music, but I love Dub, off my head on summat.
Any mottos to live by, or words of wisdom to pass on?
Motto: live each day as though it’s your last, never take a day for granted, it is so easy to die.
Visit: Private White VC here