No man has ever looked as sharp while doing their household chores.
So I recently finished a three month studio internship at Phoebe English where I got to experience so many different sides of the fashion industry – in the studio, backstage and at both AW17 menswear, which I’m going to be writing about today, and womenswear shows at London Fashion Week which I’ll be writing another blog post on as they each one had such different atmospheres, inspirations and context. Overall it was an amazing experience for me and I think that gaining that vital experience is key to progress and succeed within the industry and putting what you have learnt throughout University and adding to these key skills is essential.
Throughout the internship I worked on lots of different areas within the studio – working on patterns, cutting toiles and final garments out – and it was great to finally see all the separate pieces come together slowly and finally at the show, as well as seeing phoebe’s design process and work closely with her and the rest of the studio team on both the AW17 collections. I also got to work on tech packs for the AW17 MAN collection, visit factories and PR, work on production pieces for shops and develop textiles for the womenswear collection. It was great to develop and apply my skills from university in an industry environment as well as gaining knowledge on how a studio runs and the business side of fashion which is extremely important.
Phoebe was inspired by all “the creative men” in her life and this inspiration also saw a union of romanticism and pragmatism. The key focus of the AW17 collection was practicality, displaying a range of utilitarian pieces with a relaxed and casual aesthetic. Soft lined bombers, loose fitting striped shirts and casually tailored trousers alongside longline shirts and outerwear pieces. The fabrics ranged from dusty velvets, waxed coated cottons and corduroy – the double layered bomber and matching jogger trouser in black corduroy was one of my favourite outfits from the whole collection. The adjustable bags and backpacks and the addition of joggers bought a comfortable sporty edge but with a luxe feel because of the use of fabrics and colour palette. The other stand out pieces for me personally in the collection were the navy waxed cotton coat, hooded tunic jacket and striped longline belted shirt.
The key colours of Phoebe English MAN AW17 ranged from charcoal and military dark green to subtle tones of navy which were all paired with elements of off white to retain aspects of versatility, crispness and break up the textures of the fabrics and tie the whole collection together. With the use of tradition colours it allowed experimentation of creative cuts and clever use of fabrics offered in layered outfits – being complex in its technique with interesting pleats and lines throughout.
The show was an amazing visual spectacle with the set and props being key to setting the mood – the models went through reptile motions of different domestic chores – sweeping pegs, ironing and folding sheets and hanging socks in an endless rotation matching the trip hop beat in the background – this brought a comic surreal reality to the presentation – the fact that all the models were in movement reflects the brand ethos whilst underlying the practicality of the garments – who knew household chores could look and be so fashionable?
Can textile waste be eliminated from the Fashion Industry?
The fashion industry is one of the main causes of textiles waste in the world. Designers and brands are becoming much more aware of this factor and have in turn become more conscious when designing their collection from the cut, silhouetted to the fabric and dyes that they use. ‘Zero waste designs’ are becoming a much more popular option because of their elimination of textile waste and the innovative use of patterns and silhouettes.
The British designer Christopher Raeburn became known for his re appropriation of military fabrics and his iconic outerwear pieces created from de commissioned parachutes. His ‘re made’ ethos still guides and influences every aspect of his design process. His pioneering work has brought sustainable design to main stream fashion whilst still presenting a definition of luxury with integrity. I love Raeburn’s outlook on sustainable fashion, the idea of giving new life to old things, and working with fabrics that you wouldn’t always be able to buy on a roll – it makes designing and creating garments exciting and much more experimental whilst also challenging and pushing your design aesthetic and creativity.
“Remade is about completely deconstructing and then reworking an original garment. I started out working in this way, using upcycled fabrics, with my graduate collection almost seven years ago. At the time, very few people understood the idea of remaking things completely, but it totally fascinated me, and continues to. Taking an oversized, badly cut and not particularly flattering menswear military garment and completely reworking it into a womenswear bomber jacket excites me.” Christopher Raeburn, Another Interview
Adopting a zero waste approach appears to be the best way to reduce textile waste and the demand for natural resources, as currently fifteen percent of textiles currently end up on the cutting room floor although the process takes time and effort to produce designs that produced no waste. The fact that there is a possibility that designs and silhouettes will become simpler meaning more draping and knitting would most likely have to be used to make a design more interesting.
Zero Waste fashion to me feels like a step in the right direction for the fashion industry but only if designers as well as retailers start adopting the different techniques needed to stop producing wastage. The only factor that seems to be stopping zero waste becoming widespread is the extra time and effort needed to be inventive and experimental throughout the whole design process.
Would love to hear all your thoughts on zero waste fashion and other innovative ways designers can reduce waste and excess pollution without losing their design aesthetic.
My graduate collection consisted of 6 menswear outfits which were heavily inspired by hoarding, the everyday and the comfort that hoarders find in collecting objects and possessions.
I created vinyl prints inspired by the hoarding of household objects such as tea towels and cleaning cloths, elevating these humble items into a modern plaid which featured on shirts, wide shorts and outerwear. I also used the tea towels in their raw form to add elements of texture and comfort to the collection. I’ve always loved developing new techniques of fabrication to update fabrics and give a more modern look whilst juxtaposing this with older sewing techniques such as embroidery and patchwork.
I always do lots of development work and stand work inspired by my concept imagery – I love using collage throughout this process to try and exhaust one base idea into 10 or more highly developed and though through ideas.
My work and concepts are highly influenced by artists and photographers as I’ve always been drawn to people who convey and capture emotions and moods – and they also provide great colour and print inspiration.
After my collection was shown at GFW I was also featured in Vogue Italia’s Emerging Designers, various blogs as well as Debut Magazine which were all amazing exposure and experience which gave me extra confidence to pursue my MA at Kingston University this September.
You can see more of my work, other university projects and inspirations on my Instagram @sophiealiciabaileymenswear and my arts thread profile http://www.artsthread.com/profile/sophiebailey
Are Feminine Silhouettes the Future of Mens Fashion?
Designers are increasingly morphing and blurring the lines between males and females. In the silhouettes, cut and fabrics they use. Fashion design giants including Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Jean Paul Gaultier have all designed skirts for men in a way to push boundaries and explore ideas. The fashion industry in itself has to be exciting and constantly developing new concepts and silhouettes.
Men’s Fashion Week in London saw much controversy over the garments that designers chose to show on the catwalk, particularly JW Anderson. His Autumn Winter 13 collection was dominated by feminine inspired shorts, shift dresses and shell tops in colours of camel, navy and baby blue. Although the collection itself caused controversy in what the models were actually wearing the fabrics; sponge,rubberised cotton and duffel are not controversial textures. Duffle in particular is an extremely traditional and classic fabric to use within menswear. The reaction to Anderson’s collection was immense and the controversy that it caused meant it was shown around the world on news stations including CNN and BBC News.
“Examination of bourgeois kinkiness and boudoir perversity” was how Anderson summed up the collection in his show notes. The fact that sexual and revealing clothing can be shown in womenswear and not mens shows the naivety and uneasy feeling that people still have towards men being dressed in a sexual way. The idea of men wearing clothing like this is just that, ’an idea’, it is presenting a possibility for people and consumers to digest and distil in their own personal way. This ‘idea’ will be filtered down throughout the levels of fashion from designer to high street. Another reason why people may have felt uneasy about the collection was that all the male models looked and felt like they were comfortable in what each of them where wearing.
Personally the aspect that I focus on is the technical and precision of all the garments; with the neckline being developed through stapling and the darts being brought towards the front of the garment so the back hovered, like suspended architecture. Jacket blocks were reversed so that the shoulders sat forward creating a smooth, sculptural line. I feel that all these elements were overshadowed by the reaction to the pieces being shown in menswear. JW Anderson is known for bringing over concepts from season to season and from womenswear to mens. This collection was in the end a development and evolutional structure from his previous resort collection.