“I’m always inspired by subcultures and groups of people who go against the grain a little,” says designer Liam Hodges. This season, for his first solo show out from under the wing of the MAN support scheme, he looked to petrolhead culture – the people who spent their evenings hanging out in car parks comparing custom rides. “The idea that getting a car and spending hours building it up to something new and unique has value to it that you don’t get from just throwing money down on the stock top end tuned up Merc or Beamer or whatever,” Hodges explains. “I just vibed off this idea that the boys – and girls – put so much into something that isn’t ‘normal’ or ‘luxury’ but they take so much pride in expressing themselves through it. All that and cars are just nice, innit.”
The inspiration came through in the way that the clothes referenced personalised number plates and greasy spanners, with overall-style trousers that looked as if they’d had oil-coated hands rubbed down the front. Of course, it didn’t make sense to shoot a collection that took its cue from boy racers in still images – Hodges teamed up with Kate Bones to create a series of backstage GIFs that capture the models (complete with chevrons shaved into their heads) in moving 3D. As for Hodges himself, his whip of choice was a Ford Focus. “Although I didn't own a car for long enough to actually do it up proper I definitely had a folder on my computer of all the parts I would buy to build it up,” he remembers. “The car wasn't just for showing off though, it was a lifeline of independence, just gave you some freedom.”
Check out the GIFs in the gallery above.
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