ASOS, like the Topshop/Topman retail empire, has carved out a niche for themselves by supporting young and talented designers, offering them a lucrative part of the High Street. Funnily enough, British menswear designer Carolyn Massey has worked with both of them. But, while indicating Massey's potential retail value and customer appreciation, Massey has managed to maintain her unique design DNA throughout. Her latest offering for ASOS is a good example of such an effort.
Massey has created a capsule collection for the E-tailer which is focused on her play with fabrics and her love of contrasting them. Several pieces, both jackets and tops, are manufactured with a top and a bottom half in different material, colour and texture. Elsewhere we are tempted by intricate knitwear details, workwear shirts and impressive DB coats, both perfect for the pending autumn. Massey's eye for details - while maintaining an overall and coherent aesthetic - prevails throughout. But don't just take our word, check it yourself....
Dazed Digital: How did the ASOS collaboration come about?
Carolyn Massey: I’ve worked with ASOS on and off for a few years, doing various collabs and projects- John Mooney approached me about doing a menswear collab.
DD: What was the starting point for this collection?
Carolyn Massey: I like picking up books wherever i go- and i found this one in a bookshop in Cambridge weirdly and was blown away how beautiful some of the men were in it. I also loved the idea of them being crooks and trying to look smart and in most cases miserably failing. There was a kind of dishevelled honesty to them.
DD: Any other inspiration elements?
Carolyn Massey: I looked at traditional ganseys for the knitwear as an inspiration; the mixture of stitches was a really nice starting point. We also spoke a lot about getting the washes right- I wanted the garments to feel lived in and a bit like they'd been passed down.
DD: How does this collection differ from one of 'your own' collections?
Carolyn Massey: I love doing collabs as there’s a sense of spontaneity about them- not only do I get to use ideas I’ve had mid season, i also get to capture something of that moment in them- of whatever I'm feeling that week. It then goes off and is developed by ASOS, with me coming in for fittings. There’s something really refreshing about that - working on your own collections can be so laboured sometimes, it’s good to visually and physically take a step back.
DD: What's the biggest advantage of working with an organisation like ASOS?
Carolyn Massey: It’s a great opportunity for a designer to have that backup, in terms of production and press. To be able to put their aesthetic out there and have the support that someone like ASOS can provide. I also had the opportunity to work with Jamie Morgan on the lookbook who is a complete legend.
DD: Do you have a favourite item in the collection?
Carolyn Massey: I like the shirting. I’ll be wearing those.
DD: What's next for you?
Carolyn Massey: I’m on a personal mission to find out if the Scottish part of my family had a Fair Isle or Gansey. My grandmothers father was a fisherman and latterly was in charge of a fleet of fishing trawlers in the north sea and was also a Captain in the Navy. I’ve photographs of family members spinning wool in Shetland around 1910, so I’m sure there’s something there. A trip to the museum in Shetland is on the cards...