It’s a busy time to be Pete Wicks. Not only is he returning for the next series of The Only Way Is Essex, he is now taking the fashion world by storm with his new menswear range H.E.R.M.A.N.O. We caught up with the (slightly hungover) star to talk TOWIE, his relationship with his girlfriend Shelby Tribble and why he hates being centre of attention.
How are you feeling after the launch party of your brand H.E.R.M.A.N.O. last night?
‘I’m a little bit hungover, I’ll be honest with you! But, I’m over the moon – I’m on Cloud Nine today. It was a really good launch last night, I was really happy with it.
I go to a lot of these launches and sometimes they’re a bit quiet but we wanted to make sure it was a bit of a party last night and I think everyone lived up to that.’
A lot of your TOWIE friends turned up for the launch party. How did they feel about you getting your own fashion line?
‘It’s so lovely that I’ve got so many good friends that came and supported last night. Lockie’s already been on my case about sorting him out some shirts and also the girls have been really supportive. I’ve never done a launch or a party thing – I don’t really like being centre of attention sometimes. So seeing everyone turn up and support me last night, I was really overwhelmed and really happy with it.’
You say you don’t like being centre of attention, but obviously your 30th birthday is coming up. How are you going to celebrate?
‘I hate birthdays. I never really celebrate my birthday – I get embarrassed! So obviously it’s my thirtieth this year. I would just like to sit in a hole all day and forget it’s happening. I don’t think anyone really wants to turn 30, do they, I don’t know where the time’s gone. So I would like to do nothing, to be honest. But with my mates and Shelby and everyone else I’m probably not going to get the chance to do that. I have told them, though: no surprise parties. I don’t do surprise parties.’
And do you think they’re going to listen to you?
‘Of course they’re not! So I’m going to be on edge for the week before and the week after my birthday.’
Are you excited to be back with everyone for the next series of TOWIE?
‘TOWIE’s great – I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now, and obviously I missed being part of last series so I’m looking forward to going back. It will be nice for me and Shelby to be back on screen together again. Obviously Lockie’s my boy and Chloe Sims is such a good pal of mine as well – I’m really excited she’s doing Celebs Go Dating at the minute.
It’s going to be nice to see everyone because I think, especially over summer break, everyone goes away on holiday and sometimes you don’t get time to see people as much as you’d like to. But when we are filming we’re in each other’s pockets all the time – which can be a little stressful, but generally it’s quite nice.’
What has been your favourite moment on TOWIE so far?
‘A couple of years ago myself and Lockie went on a camel ride, which was probably one of the best and worst experiences of my entire life. But watching Lockie s**t himself at a camel is probably one of the funniest things that ever happened on the show for me.’
How will you juggle working on your clothing line with filming TOWIE?
‘It’s going to be difficult, but where there’s a will there’s a way. The brand is going to be such a big thing for me – it keeps me really busy at the minute, so I think there will probably be a lot of late nights in the office.’
What made you want to start your own clothing line?
‘We started developing H.E.R.M.A.N.O. well over a year ago now. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but we wanted to make sure that we got it right before we launched anything.’
When did you first get into fashion?
I always used to wear nutty stuff when I was younger. I was always that bloke with some ruffled shirts or a dodgy pair of shoes that people used to think, ‘how the hell is he wearing them?’ So it stemmed from when I was a kid, really – from when I was about 13 or 14.
How much creative agency do you have with the pieces for H.E.R.M.A.N.O.?
‘A lot of nutty stuff is thought up in my weird little head!
Some of my ideas are a little out there, so it’s good to have the team to tell me, ‘Pete, we don’t think that’s going to work.’
I’m in the office three or four times a week, so it’s become like a full-time job for me. But I’m enjoying it so much. It’s really nice to do something you’ve not done before and learn as you go.’
As you say, some of the designs are a bit wacky. What inspired you to create them?
‘I love things that are different. It’s nice to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of brands doing similar sorts of things and we wanted to make sure that we stood out, that people would know, without seeing the label, ‘I bet that’s H.E.R.M.A.N.O’.
I think you can tell that our shirts stand out for miles – you’re going to get noticed in them.’
The clothing line is aimed at men. Do you think in the future you might branch into womenswear as well?
‘A lot of women have been buying the shirts, which has led us into looking at developing a womenswear range for next year. When you launch a menswear brand you assume that that’s going to be your audience – we didn’t think that women would be so interested in the men.
And the shirts look great on women, as much as they do on guys. Shelby looks better in a shirt than I do. I mean, she looks better in most things, doesn’t she? It’s hard for her to look bad.’
Does Shelby ever say some of your designs are too out there?
‘She’s so supportive, she puts it in a slightly nicer way. She’s like, ‘I think you can pull it off, but do you think people are going to buy it?’ It’s a nice way of going, ‘Pete, that’s a bit too nutty, mate – slow down!’’
How are things going with Shelby?
‘Yeah, really good. We’re really happy. All we do is laugh, which is really lovely. So I’m really happy at the minute and hopefully she is.’
What can we expect from you in the next series of TOWIE?
‘I’m really happy at the minute so there’s going to be a lot of laughter from me next series.’