With much of London fashion seemingly cleaned up, it is particularly refreshing when a gig emits lightness and humour that will surely be quite contagious. Two CSM alumni, Luke Brooks and Beth Postle, sell their wares at The Hackney Shop starting today and what emerges from this friend-partnership is an all-round sense of authenticity, with designs that are heartfelt and atmospheric. “Both of us felt our work complimented each other. We wanted a simple idea like the t-shirt to show exciting hand-painted decoration,” says Postle, who is currently on the MA course after her strong BA showing last year.
Taking his new work straight to the shops for the first time, Brooks releases a series that feature highly textured paintings of trees and butterflies. The idea of multi-layers of paint on oversized t-shirts was a key element of his successful MA collection from 2012. Sizes go as large as 8XL and as long as a dress. While the idea isn’t necessarily innovative or conceptually remarkable - anyone can easily make their own, Brooks says – the level of attention paid to ensure that the patina is “daubed, encrusted and cracked” appealingly, is a reminder of his talent for creating visually addictive fashion that celebrate DIY techniques.
Beth Postle’s designs also carry this increasingly rare handmade, spontaneous quality. Like her sold-out collection at Machine-A, the t-shirts on sale feature her highly recognisable Picasso-like faces, but in greater variations and abstractions, and on a more affordable jersey. The aim for both is to “present ways for everyone to have nice, unique things that have a real human touch to them”.
Together, they have also created “wild card” ideas such as melted face masks and twin t-shirts featured on the shop’s poster (“The neckline from the second shirt actually works as an arm hole and creates a nice drape!”). Other items include small purses by Postle and headpieces by Brooks; the "GOD" headpiece from his MA made travel-size and also new "Turdflower" fascinators that are joyously sinister and deliberately wonky, each going for £20. “The low price is a pre-reward for bravery should anyone wear it on the street,” Brooks says.
While they expect the main bulk of customers to be fashion students, a nice message can be told if their work reach a wider audience. True luxury is daring to be different, and that does not mean having to break the bank.
15-20 July, at The Hackney Shop, 99 Morning Lane, E9 6NG, 10am - 8pm daily.