Fashion

Having been sealed up in the RCA incubator for the past three years, a new generation of menswear designers are ready to make the big step into the unknown, bringing with them a progressive attitude and hunger to create.

Having just taken their curtain call with last month’s graduate show – titled A walk without a cat – this new class of graduates are teeming with ideas about the role fashion will play in addressing the most urgent of issues: unravelling topics of identity, sustainable production and gender equality.

Edited down to a standout seven, here London-based photographer Stella Asia Consonni shoots the rising designers looking to make their name on the menswear scene.

Hannes Wandaller

What’s the name of your collection?
“Infinite Youth.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“Everything started with the video blog I made last year. A document of an ordinary day. From waking up, getting coffee, going to the gym to eating your chicken, drinking your protein shake and getting a haircut by your flatmate. This video made me think of certain aspects, like intimacy, the idea of youth and truth. And with all the social medias out there, and how we portray ourselves on the internet, I asked myself: ‘Is it really the truth or the truth we sell? Is it ordinary or hyper-realised? Fake or real?'”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“I started looking at Larry Clark’s The Perfect Childhood. From that point on I quickly understood the similarities between his storytelling and my vlog, they’re both about the truth behind the curtains, irreverence, dreams, nightmares and defiance of youth. From there I looked back at two aspects of my vlog which both play with the idea of beauty and infinite youth: the gym and the hair salon. A juxtaposition of the powerlifter and the beautiful woman, these informed my collection in terms of material, shape, and garment construction.”

What was the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“The people you meet during this time are the most valuable thing.”

How does the future look for you?
“I don’t know what the far future holds for me but I definitely want to go back into the industry and gain more insight. But for now I will need a vacation.”

Saul Nash

What is the name of your collection?
“Static Man vs Man In Motion”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“My background as a dancer.”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“I looked a lot at sportswear but also staple pieces within my own wardrobe.”

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“I think the course enabled me to strip my work down to its core. I think it really helped with making informed decisions around designing the collection.”

How does the future look for you?
“Exciting.” 

Saul Nash / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

Lenny Murr

What is the name of your collection?
“Ddhr. – a deeply desirable hyper-reality.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“My own surroundings – which the entire collection is based on. It’s the idea of building a world that emerges from observing, catching and translating the everyday.”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“The clothes reference generic garments derived from my own closet. I analysed and redesigned them according to my artist manifesto. Accessories like the resin leaf broach or the hex nut earring attempt to enhance mundanity to create beauty. They’ve both been taken from my immediate surroundings.”

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“Trust your intuition and things will come together perfectly in the end.”

How does the future look for you?
“Hopefully diverse! I have a couple of ideas about how I want to develop my collection further, especially the accessories. Equally, I would like to do some collaborations to get fresh input or work for a bigger company to gain more experience. So w’ll see but in any case, I’m excited.”

Lenny Murr / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

Archie Dickens

What is the name of your collection?
“Forma De Vida.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“The fluidity of water, a memory of floating in a kelp forest, the heartbreak I feel when I remember we live in a world where Donald Trump and Brexit are not just laughable suggestions.”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“A shark egg found on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, symbolising fragility and asking questions about freedom of movement and the values that I hold as a vulnerable man. Also, Ted Hughes’ translation and adaption of Ovid’s epic The Metamorphoses”, Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ .”

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“Don’t be afraid to do what you want, and don’t ever lose your voice. Most importantly though, never try and compare yourself with others, it’s the beginning of the end.”

How does the future look for you?
“I am considering relocating to Lisbon, starting a label and enjoying what that city has to offer – otherwise a job in Knitwear (anywhere) sounds good! “

Archie Dickins / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

“I try to have a rational optimism… the world is ending but it’ll be a hell of a ride.”

John-Paul Trang

What is the name of your collection?
“My brand is called Deep Maze and this first collection is titled Catabasis.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“I create clothing only for myself – this collection is a start at a comprehensive personal uniform. I’ve been wearing uniforms of various sorts all my life and thought it was time to make my own from the ground up. Each functional workwear item is meant to enhance and facilitate my practice as a maker (of clothing, custom motorcycles, installation experiences, etc).”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“Ease of movement, (emotional) durability, and workshop specific function. For the cut I drew from two opposite sources that deal with ease of movement – contemporary motorcycle racing suits and the traditional martial arts uniform or gi. The pockets and finishing details are mostly referenced from traditional workwear and military garments or function specific developments of my own. “

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“The only luxury left in a world of easy access and big data is knowing yourself and acting on that knowledge.”

How does the future look for you?
“I try to have a rational optimism… the world is ending but it’ll be a hell of a ride. The future lies in the hands of the self-reliant maker.”

John-Paul Trang / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

Anan Hu

What is the name of your collection?
“1001-SPACE-FORCE.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“My starting point comes from the attitude of today’s youth against political power. People’s freedom and will are controlled by some invisible darkn forces. But since their strength is weak, people cannot change the situation. So I try to seek liberation and freedom in the spiritual world, create a virtual world of my own, and set up my own army to protect myself. At the same time, I tried to create a rough structure the same as a plastic toy.”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“Reference comes from the surreal toy image of a soldier. In the design, I refer to future space warriors in some animations, as well as the history of astronauts.”

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“Insist on yourself and believe in yourself”

Anan Hu / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

Hao Chun Fang

What is the name of your collection?
“Made of Memory.”

What was the starting point for your collection?
“The collection comes from my childhood memory, I think what people love about memory so much is that memory is something we can’t go back to. We know that the past is fading and people can create a better version of world through their interpretation of memory. I didn’t have the chance to go to the beach when I was a child, so I imagine if I can re-build my memory. I’d build up a new space similar to beach, full of mixed consciousness of past, present and future.”

What were the points of reference behind the pieces?
“The landscape of the beach is really inspiring to me. I decided to make different pieces reflect different kinds of natural textures; the transparency of the water, traces on sand or the surface of rock. Based on the combination of these pieces, you will not only see the collection but also experience the whole landscape of the beach.”

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your course?
“Fashion cannot be limited only to garments.”

How does the future look for you?
“I am now working on the next chapter of this collection, and I’m really excited.”

Hao Chun Fang / Photography by Stella Asia Consonni

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