• Text Clementine Zawadzki
  • Photography Emily Malan
  • 7th January 2019

Mind and matter

Throughout her work, Phoebe English has always eschewed the ‘fast’ fashion formula in favour of sustainability and quality. This utilitarian ideal has become eponymous with the label; items created and constructed in England, and made to reflect the movement of the everyday. At the helm of the label, Phoebe’s focus on narrative sees her collections drawn to personality and practicality, interchangeable between men and women alike, and imagined with flexibility. In an age where everyone is Marie Kondo-ing their life and trying to ‘capsule’ their wardrobe, going back to basics is something the fashion world is not just aware of, but is embracing.

For Phoebe, this mindfulness cuts through her design codes; zero-waste pattern cutting, reclaimed offcuts worked between tulle tapestries and patchwork skirts, certified organic cottons, and plastic-free buttons. Presented inside a spotlight room in Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery, black flags stood waved as Pheobe English’s models sported faces sponged in the centre like the speckles of the moon. Brightened by dusty pink, sharp white, and mustard, the muted hues perfectly complemented the collections simplicity in box-fit waxed cotton shirts and loose-fit cotton anoraks.

A traditional nod to English tailoring was seen in Welsh wool flannel coats and bomber jackets, with trousers ranging from chinos to culottes to subtle flares. The tone was subtle, even moving to womenswear, where strappy pinafores, pleated two-pieces, and a Romantic take on petticoat breeches gave a Crucible feel to the contemporary designs.