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Callum Pidgeon graduate designer young lads young dads lcf
Photography Tirtha Lawati

The menswear designer finding inspiration in the young dads of the 90s

Callum Pidgeon delved into the beauty of early fatherhood for his graduate collection ‘Young Lads to Young Dads’

When recent LCF graduate Callum Pidgeon set out to create his final collection, Young Lads to Young Dads, he had his parents, Damion and Petra, in mind. “My dad was 22 and my lovely mum was only 18 when I was born,” the menswear designer explains. “I was around the same age when I was going into my last year, and I just thought ‘Jesus, I couldn’t imagine having a responsibility like that.’ But it sparked my imagination and I started looking through family photo albums at what my dad and his friends wore, what little they had, and them just having a good time really. It filled me with nostalgia and enthusiasm for the collection that came from it. It was quite a personal concept really.”

Shown as part of June’s Burn The Man graduate show in east London, the collection itself comprised oversized shirts that were semi-tucked into loose, stonewashed denim jeans, baggy sweatshirts layered over equally baggy t-shirts, motocross-style jackets embossed with ‘Daddy’, and Pidgeon’s take on the classic football kit.

“I tried to portray the beauty that lies in these adolescent men entering the realm of parenthood, and I really wanted to get away from shaming young parents, which I think happens a lot,” he says. “Aesthetically, I was focusing on the awkwardness of budget dressing for responsibility and the first day of the job, and fending for self and family. I wanted to blend this delicate masculinity with ready-for-work 90s-style looks, and capture that kind of rushed feeling of getting dressed in the morning, with oversized fits, plenty of layering, and the odd mishap – untucked hems and undone sleeves and things like that.”

Now, the collection has been captured as part of a newly-released photographic series and a short film, as shot by friend and collaborator Tirtha Lawati. The two met while studying together at the Royal Leamington Spa College, and bonded partly over their shared experiences: Lawati’s mum and dad eloped at a very young age in his native Nepal, before moving to the UK when he was 9.

Featuring a number of unique models and Pidgeon’s actual friends, the film and accompanying images have a lo-fi, grainy feel, which serves to emphasise the influence of the 90s on the collection. And where some might opt to achieve the effect using a filter, Lawati was intent on ensuring the final clip felt authentic.

“I used an old camcorder from the 90s to recreate the nostalgia of family home movies – I was trying to implant parts of my own childhood memories within the film,” explains Lawati. “The narration features a young boy reading out a revision on physics and rocket engines, which came from the fact that planes flying in the sky amazed me when I was a kid growing up in Nepal. Although Callum and I grew up in different countries, I think childhood memories like this form part of a collection of universal experiences.”

Check out the images in the gallery above, and watch the short film below.