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edwin mohney central saint martins ma collection
Edwin Mohney – CSM MA collectionPhotography Reece and Dean

Inside the weird and wild world of CSM’s standout MA designer

Edwin Mohney’s debut collection featured an inflatable swimming pool top, rubber chicken hats, and Trump mask stilettos

Year in, year out, the Central Saint Martins MA show is an open window into the revered fashion school and its creative comings and goings. Thanks to the school’s collection of amazing alumni – Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo, and Riccardo Tisci among them – the expectations are undeniably high, but that doesn’t stop the students from consistently delivering year after year. 

At this year’s show, held during the AW18 LFW womenswear shows in February, there was one standout collection who had everyone grinning and wide-eyed with joy – Edwin Mohney. Not that you’ll need reminding, his collection was the one with the giant swimming pool dress/top/necklace? 

Going against the stale, repetitive commentary on the practicality of fashion – Who would wear that? How would it fit? – Mohney’s collection was a darkly humorous take on immediacy and modernity. “I think the time comes when you have more pressure on you to say this is what I’m doing and I need to make money from it, but I’m not at that point yet”, Mohney explains. “(Basically) having the free space to do whatever the fuck you want and it not being about the output but the process as a whole.”

Ignoring the commercial aspect of fashion, in addition to the swimming pool, there were also rubber chicken hats, clown wig skirts, condom-inspired dresses, and ‘Trumpetto’s’ (Donald Trump stilettos, naturally). More than just rule-bending, the designer’s intelligent humour and approach made his collection one of the show’s standouts. 

To shoot the collection, Mohney enlisted photography duo Reece and Dean in a series of ‘smoke and mirrors’-style images. Already having shot Matty Bovan and FKA twigs, the pair’s dreamy, hyper-real style was the best way to showcase the collection. 

Here, we speak to Mohney about his MA collection, and what is coming next. 

Firstly, what was the swimming pool about?

Edwin Mohney: I liked the shape.

How did your MA collection evolve from your BA?

Edwin Mohney: During my BA I was really focused on using one medium or material and using that as a vehicle to tell a story. When it came to my MA, I had this real passion for making clothing and crafting garments – I wanted to give myself the time to do whatever I wanted, just trust my intuition. Then, somehow, I was way more interested in this idea of working intuitively and creating a story out of the different decisions I was making day-to-day. I wanted to explore and question! 

So you treated them as two different collections?

Edwin Mohney: Yeah, that’s the idea basically. I was happy with how the BA came out and I didn’t see it as something to improve on. For valid reasons some do an MA to improve on what they were doing or the project isn’t over for them. I really felt that, for me, it was done. It was about giving myself the space to make garments. BA was so much about something crafty and MA is more about proper couture techniques which is what I’m interested in – it just takes time to get there. I personally think it’s more interesting when a designer changes season to season and isn’t just on the same project – it shows a lot more risk involved and more courage to do it. Especially having to make money. Because I was in school I didn’t need to worry about it.

“There’s always room to change things and experiment. It’s this idea of not defining yourself too much from one idea” – Edwin Mohney 

What were some of your inspirations/thoughts behind the collection? 

Edwin Mohney: A lot of it came from reading about how we would summarise what our current climate is. You have modernism and postmodernism and I was also reading a lot about capitalism, then at one point someone mentioned this idea of modernity. To me, that’s the idea of not being defined by any past... your identity isn’t defined by anything. I would do this, then I realised I was doing something I didn’t realise was really relevant.

Did you have a clear idea for the collection, or did it evolve over time? 

Edwin Mohney: Totally. I think it’s interesting to see where you’re at on month three versus where you’re at on month one. If anything starts to feel a bit heavy or overworked it’s always great to look through the material you have and you can kind of disrupt what you’ve done – leaving that open is important. It’s easy to say you get nervous but you just have to do it, I just have to work with what I have in front of me. There’s always room to change things and experiment.

It was interesting going into a line-up and showing a completely different collection every week. The tutors were a bit like ‘fuck’. But, you know, what was great was one of them pointed out that it’s a totally valid way to work – it’s this idea of not defining yourself too much from one idea and you can totally change and evolve.

You mentioned that the collection was an ode to Amazon Prime?

Edwin Mohney: I’m interested in this instantaneous thing with Prime. As for the Trumpetto’s, it was more about the fact that it was a mask being worn as a shoe and that was the mask I found on Prime versus it being a political statement. It’s political by nature, but I was more interested in using politics as a subject to wear and being able to wear politics, as opposed to wearing a political statement even if it’s aligned with what my political statement is. When I said ‘Ode to Amazon Prime’ it was more about the immediacy of it – it became really addictive.

Why did you use Reece and Dean to showcase your collection? 

Edwin Mohney: It worked naturally well between us – we have some sensibilities but from two different worlds. They work with visuals and I work with clothing – it was great to bring the two together. I see my work as quite dark. The difficulty of a runway show is that it’s so much more stripped back – it’s harder to let the sinister-ness come through. For me, the idea is disconcerting that you can get something so immediate. The idea is dark but I still have the humour within it. 

What do you have planned next? 

Edwin Mohney: I’ll just be carrying on with what I’m doing. I think what’s nice is that because I jumped around quite a lot, the space is open to make anything out of anything. I’m working on more projects and working for myself. At the same time, I’m also trying to find a job just for experience. If I can learn from someone then I want to learn – that’s just it for me. It’s not necessarily about anything more than that, so if nothing comes my way or nothing happens then I’m going to try my best on my own and learn that way – I’ll make something happen as you do. If not then it’s just...carrying on really! 

@edwin_mohney