• Text  Dean Mayo Davies
  • 21st June 2013

Undress your identity

Meadham Kirchhoff’s SS14 performance, where a series of ‘authority’ models stripped boys of their smocking, breton stripes, florals, rubber and cat-painted wellies had political connotations, coupled with a video of 20th century communist imagery projected behind.

What the designers were concerned with was a politics of liberty being in the here and now. Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff, London’s zine-collecting, Riot Grrl worshipping antagonists face pressure in an industry keen to clean-up and mechanise its artists.

This was a performance of being conditioned into something ‘normal’, unthreatening. David Gandy, a menswear ambassador for the BFC, aligned himself to promoting a homogenised masculine ideal by belittling other effervescent London talents on Chatty Man, Alan Carr’s Channel 4 chat show. Instilling bad feeling and even fear around people’s right to express themselves through clothes is a dangerous opposite of progress. Taken literally it seeps into the cultural fabric of Britain, through streets, schools, workplaces.

Meadham Kirchhoff, thankfully, would never relinquish their personalities to please mass concensus. They are the poster boys for the alternative. Besides, the layered symbolism of their look is too good. They know it.