The RCA grad on his capsule collection for the online retailer, mixing British and Italian influences
Graduating from the RCA in 2011 with a well received MA collection that took elements from his obsession with Jim Jarmusch movies and ultra modernist sculptor Nairy Bagrahmian, emerging designer Samuel Membery debuts his 'FILM' line for ASOS. Samuel's aesthetic is one that looks at both street culture and tailoring for its influence. For his RCA collection it was the rockabilly gangs in Jarmusch's Mystery Train combined with a minimal feel.
I'm very much inspired by how a musician creates an alias for himself through their clothes and image, the language they use or the subculture they promote. I find snippets of different things within subcultures, draw from them and splice them together
'FILM' takes that idea but gives it a new twist using an apocalyptic story through his reinvented streetwear classics, combined with a sense of classic British and Italian silhouettes. The ASOS collection is a great example of a fresh designer being offered a platform to produce something within a commercial context and Membery has produced a capsule that is accessible, interesting and has an edge. With a calm and seemingly industry aware approach and interesting, in-depth cultural references spanning art to hip-hop, this is a designer who looks set to go far.
Dazed Digital: For the new ASOS 'FILM' line you have used iconic mens street style shapes, the MA1, denim jacket, jersey shorts. What interests you about reinterpreting them?
Samuel Membery: I grew up in London in the 90s. I was a garage and drum & bass raver and I have always been into gangster rap. The silhouettes of people like the Wu tang and Biz Markie, those kinds of staple classics that men will always go back to time and time again, interest me. And I wear them myself.
DD: Has music and growing up in London had a big influence on what you're doing now as a designer?
Samuel Membery: I'm very much inspired by how a musician creates an alias for himself through their clothes and image, the language they use or the subculture they promote. I find snippets of different things within subcultures, draw from them and splice them together.
DD: There is a tailoring element to what you do as well, which is quite different to the clothes associated with those street style references. Where does that come from?
Samuel Membery: I love refined Italian and English menswear and those traditional ideas, slick, well made, well finished menswear. I take the contrast between those two things, the tailoring and the streetwear, hopefully creating something that sits right in the middle of the two.
DD: How did you find the process of moving from your graduate collection to working on a line for ASOS?
Samuel Membery: I took the overall feeling from my RCA collection but looked at a different reference, a story called The Journey to the End of the World by Henning Mankell. It's a modern day Noah's Ark, an apocalyptic story, so the collection is loosely based on survival gear. The process was different from if I had done it all myself, you're working with factories, so it evolved from drawings to how it is but I learnt a lot.
DD: What is next for you? Do you want to start your own label?
Samuel Membery: I am working on a project with a screen-print designer. It will be quite simple at first but will help us both to learn. I would like to do my own thing, but I have seen so many younger designers do something amazing for five or six seasons and yet not be able to sustain it. I would love to do collection after collection right now, but I reckon it would kill me and I wouldn't make any money! I'm just going to take it slowly.
'FILM' is launched on ASOS today