My 2013: January – Craig Green

The designer who shocked the industry with his much-needed statement about British menswear

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Craig Green
Craig Green Photography by Jonnie Craig

This was the year that shook menswear to its very core. Fronted by a new wave of designers seeking to re-define established notions of the discipline, 2013 gave way to gender-blurring, experimentation and radical new developments in menswear. At the forefront of this revolution was – and still very much is – Craig Green. The designer, who began the year by sending an army of painted models concealed under homemade fencing down the runway, went on to set off a media storm with papers like the Daily Mail condemning his work with headlines such as: ‘What a Plank!’ Then there was the David Gandy incident on Alan Carr’s TV show Chatty Man, where the London Collections Men’s ambassador openly mocked his designs. In retrospect and a year later this also seems irrelevant. Green’s highly anticipated second show saw a series of faceless psychedelic print sculptures appear on the runway. This wasn’t just fashion on acid, but a much-needed statement about the future of British menswear. Ahead of his third show in just under a month’s time, we asked the designer to look back at his pivotal year.

“I feel like I’ve aged about ten years! January feels so long ago, but also unbelievably close. It’s so shocking that I’ve gone from working from my mum’s house and now we have taken over a whole studio and I have a PR. Now we can actually buy fabric if we want to experiment and we don’t have to make everything out of found things or beg and haggle for it. At the beginning of the year there was that element of like, what have we got and what can we afford? What can we make something out of that’s not what it looks like at the beginning? I think it’s important not to lose that because I do like that kind of like DIY mentality. I mean there is definitely that element in what I do and all the people I collaborate with. They’re all sort of like crafts people. I guess we’re a crafty group of friends that love weird hippy things and handmade things! I do think that’s our generation though, isn’t it? Growing up watching Art Attack and Changing Rooms – all of those things showed you that you could make something out of nothing.

“I didn’t think that it would kind of make people angry. There was an element of people being quite furious about it”

Looking back at the January show, I mean, I didn’t think people would react to it in an extreme way. I thought people would either like it or not. I just don’t think you can do anything that’s much of a shocking statement anymore – do you know what I mean? I don’t know. With everything that’s happened before I didn’t think that it would kind of make people angry. There was an element of people being quite furious about it. I was quite depressed at the beginning, but then people kind of made me see that it’s great and it’s a good thing to divide opinion. 

 “Oh my God, is it tie-dye? Who’s going buy a multi-coloured pair of trousers in tie-dye!”

Maybe the show in June was too familiar for everyone. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just felt like a different feeling, but it was great that everyone liked it. I remember I was terrified and I would call my old friend Helen, who I collaborate with on fabrics and say, “Oh my God, is it tie-dye? Is it tie-dye? Who’s going to buy that? Who’s going buy a multi-coloured pair of trousers in tie-dye!” We do it every season though – I’m always the one worrying and then talking everything to death. Literally through the whole night and just pissing everybody off! This year I’ve learnt that feeling uncomfortable is a good thing even though it’s aging me! It’s more fun and exciting. Isn’t it? Let’s take a risk and see what happens – that’s the fun of it.”

For Dazed Digital’s 12 days of Christmas, the defining artists and personalities of 2013 talk us through their year. To celebrate we’re giving away a festive hamper full of gifts, including vinyl from Sohn, Zomby, a signed Giorgio Moroder cover and poster as well as Bun B’s rap colouring book. Tweet us at @dazedmagazine with your favourite cultural moment from 2013 using the hashtag #my2013 to be in with a chance of winning.

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