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 Ryan McGinley Robbie Spencer Lorde Richard Malone Dazed
Lorde wearing all clothes Richard Malone in the Summer 2015 issue of DazedPhotography Ryan McGinley, styling Robbie Spencer

Five things to know about Fashion East’s new recruit

Inspired by Ireland’s working-class teens, Richard Malone thinks that when it comes to sustainability and diversity, fashion needs to sort its shit out

Meet Richard Malone: CSM graduate, LVMH scholarship winner, former building site worker and now – Fashion East designer. Malone, whose work has already graced the pages of Dazed, will be debuting his next collection at Fashion East’s Topshop-sponsored show at London Fashion Week in September. And he won’t be doing it alone: Malone will be joined by existing Fashion East-er Caitlin Price and fellow newbie This is The Uniform. In the run-up to his upcoming show, we got in touch with this rising star to find out five things you need to know about him.

HIS INTRODUCTION TO FASHION WAS ON A BUILDING SITE

“My first encounter with fashion was probably when I was working on building sites with my dad. You have to wear certain things there, like high visibility vests and hard hats – there’s a real sense of uniform and of getting dressed. I always thought it was pretty fierce.”

HE’S INSPIRED BY IRELAND’S WORKING-CLASS IRISH TEENS

“They don’t just inspire me, they are an inherent part of me because I’m from a very working-class background. It’s not like your upper-class trust fund Arabellas who do an art course, move to East London and try to look poor by appropriating from the working classes, it’s real to me. Every time I go home I'm surrounded by it because it’s my family. Ireland is a place that is full of fascinating contrasts and amazing people that I love.”

“It’s not like your trust fund Arabellas who do an art course, move to East London and try to look poor by appropriating from the working classes, it’s real to me” – Richard Malone

HE DOESN’T LOOK AT FASHION REFERENCES

“I collect original research for myself by filming and speaking to people, photographing things that interest me and drawing. I spend most of my time toiling and fitting on the body, resolving all of my own research in cutting and draping. I pattern cut the same way I draw, which is very loose and instinctive. I’ve physically made every single garment in my last two collections. I don’t understand how someone can be a designer without ever touching fabric.”

HE PRESENTED HIS LAST COLLECTION IN AN UNDERGROUND STATION

“I got in touch with TFL who had this amazing space in Old Street station. My boyfriend and I did an installation, and my dad and the painter and decorator helped out painting it. We had some recordings of my grandmother reading a poem she wrote too. Then I banned all photography within the space. It’s not about Instagramming or being ‘cool’, it’s about the clothes and an experience. I don’t want my clothes to be a catalyst for people’s selfie-taking.”

HE THINKS FASHION NEEDS TO CHANGE WHEN IT COMES TO SUSTAINABILITY AND BODY IMAGE

“Major houses need to stop being so wasteful and show us some transparency in terms of production and sustainability. I don’t know how you can consider yourself a contemporary designer without considering the world around you. And I’m mortified when I go through the shows and 99.9% of the first faces are white and blonde. It’s very Aryan – it’s actually scary. I think we need way more diversity.”