Appointed at Prada in 1996, David James oversees the campaigns and printed communications of one of fashion’s most distinctive and directionally imperative brands, as well as continuing his successful art and design consultancy serving clients like Chloé, Dior, and Dunhill.
James’ collaborations with photographers, including Cedric Buchet and Steven Meisel , for Prada’s advertising campaigns, dismiss the lines between art and fashion photography and have achieved cult status. Prada’s lauded entry into fashion film was another step for the creative. “The idea of fashion being defined by photography, as it’s been for decades, is over,” James told Creative Review. “We are starting to see a new phase where fashion will be defined by film.”
The art director is also known for use novel use of materials. For each of Prada’s runway shows, James and his team create invitations that surprise and actively engage their recipients, through choice of materials and the inclusion of a required action to read them.
His other signature is typography; in partnership with Gareth Hague, the designer began releasing typefaces, under the name ‘Alias Foundry’ in 1996. James and Hague have created typefaces for Ghost, Monsoon, The Sunday Times, AnOther and AnOther Man.
James left school at 16 and moved to Edinburgh to join design agency McIlroy Coates. He moved to London in 1986 to work at The Fine White Line and set up his own agency a year later, aged 25, which he relaunched as DJA in 2011. Initially, he designed record sleeves for musicians Boy George and Soul to Soul, before shifting focus to fashion in the '90s.