We spoke to Carolyn Massey at the NEWGEN MAN shows at the BFC, Somerset House
Having become a pleasant staple piece on the London menswear schedule, Carolyn Massey was this time around - together with James Long - selected to start off the first ever New Gen Man show. Acting as an older brother to the MAN show, this event allows designers to grow up and develop their skills - without leaving London. As such, Massey was the perfect choice by the BFC; six collections in, she has not only carved out a niche for herself in monochrome and quirky tailoring, but also realised that the design business doesn’t escape the supply-and-demand market.
Massey showed a wearable and colourful collection, taking in classic pieces like trench coats, cardigans and blazers. It was almost like the craziest Massey got was to put hiking boots and winter hats on models in shorts and tank tops. But such challenging style tips were easily out-weighed by the superb colour palette, which included navy with beige and red with blue. The result was a suave “boy from Dungeness”- look, which will not only ensure Massey commercial success, but also confirmation that just because the world isn’t black or white doesn’t mean it’s necessarily grey; mustard yellow and moss green will work as well…
Outdoor themed outfits and accessories – such as the rucksack steel harness – added a recognisable characteristic to the show, but luckily Massey didn’t completely forget her tailoring heritage; smarter looks featured as well and, in the end, everyone left happy and reassured that London’s menswear is moving forwards and upwards. Dazed Digital had a quick chat with her after the show.
Dazed Digital: What was the main inspiration behind the collection?
Carolyn Massey: I got hold of a copy of the film Heroes of Telemark and I was inspired by Kirk Douglas and his men who looked really good in their Norwegian military gear.
DD: You also went camping in Dungeness in Kent, right?
Carolyn Massey: Yeah, I enjoyed the eerie landscape there. There are such contrasts with the fisherman’s huts and the blinking nuclear power station down there. That camping weekend gave the collection a stronger outdoor feeling as well.
DD: The show felt kind of broad and like it covered many bases – was it a mature collection?
Carolyn Massey: I just wanted to increase my audience. I’ve started thinking about it more as brand, so I’m now working with a shoe company and other people who can help me expand
DD: There were quite a few colours in there – you normally stay within the monochrome palette!
Carolyn Massey: I know! I just thought it is a spring summer collection after all, so why not inject some colour. I think most designers a winter designers – it’s a lot easier to work with heavy fabrics…
DD: It was very much an outdoors collection, did you think a lot about functionality?
Carolyn Massey: Yes, that came from the camping trip but I was also trying to capture that feeling of when you were a kid and got dragged out of bed at 5am in the morning to go on a family trip. But this being the British summer, it’s not necessarily hot at all!
DD: What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
Carolyn Massey: I love the last look. It’s a black jacket in coated cotton, which has loads of pockets on it and a bag attached to it.