If you watched the ACW* London Fashion Week Mens show whether virtually or in person, you will know that the show was moving and unlike no other. From the moment, the suspenseful music started playing, and an army of models walked out covered in cement, we knew this was going to be a show rooted in symbolism.
Through the provision of safety goggles, ear plugs, and facemasks, Designer Samuel Ross’ industrial motif continues in this show to provide an immersive experience. Some of the models walk out in boxes perhaps symbolic of the oppression of free expression. The show ends in crescendo of models destroying a Styrofoam box to reveal a nude person; a glaring representation of the breaking down of social constructs to allow individuals to take their own form unapologetically.
So how does that symbolism reflect in the collection itself? The garments themselves in certain aspects are devoid of structure, they divert from the traditional expectations of fashion in a number of ways. For example we see hoodies with arm sleeves, but side slits should you choose to wear the arms outside of the designed sleeves. Front zipped trousers, seemingly “incomplete” or minimal purpose accessories, and the use of plastic clothing are other examples of how the brand not only breaks the status quo, but seeks to influence a new normal.
Typical to human nature, as each piece is shown, we instinctively question the wearability, thinking of its form, fit, and function, but as we deconstruct the mind you begin to understand that garments are made to be worn irrespective of their suitability to the environment around them. They are not made for the environment but made for the wearer and thus a correlation to the external environment is not necessary. Once we accept that, the mind becomes boundless and half cut garments, unattached hoods, and mixed material clothing become an art form.
Through the show, Samuel Ross encourages guests to take a bold stance by unlearning patterns of thought and embrace whatever form we see fit and in doing so a new confidence is built that allows us to present ourselves in our chosen human form. This goes from being just a show to a school of thought that encourages a dialogue on, what is fashion design and what does it look like to us? Such a question solicits a healthy debate but one thing’s for sure, what we saw at this show was design at its finest; unique, inspiring, and thought provoking. A huge well done to the team and many thanks to Karla Otto for having us!