And a new Diesel collab...
In a few short years Samuel Ross – who picked up the Best Emerging Menswear Designer prize at last year’s Fashion Awards – has gone past being one to watch and made his label A-COLD-WALL* one of the definitive standouts of London Men’s Fashion Week. Here’s what you need to know about this season.
IT BEGAN WITH A POP-UP
While the show itself took place in the industrial surrounds of Printworks, on Thursday Ross took over a space in the Truman Brewery, erecting a meticulously designed pop-up that stood for the duration of LFWM. It was a testament to his ability not just to make clothes people want to wear, but ones they want to buy, too.
THE SHOW WAS OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Ross opened up his show to members of the public, allowing them to register on the label’s website for tickets, and hopefully inspiring a new generation of young people usually shut out of the industry. “My mindset is not one of someone who wants to join a conservative stance of inaccessibility through luxury,” he explained pre-show of the decision. “I'm more into operating on an equalised landscape and inviting the public into the conversation to inspire. Just from a moral standpoint, I don't want to be in a box looking down on people – that's not what I want. I don't think it's modern or the future.” The first fashion show he ever went to? “It was Kanye’s presentation for A.P.C.,” he recalls, and although it was only in Paris, it was a very long way from home. “Coming from middle England into the centre of that… I was working, tying Timberlands for about two days, but I was a sponge.”
THE COLLECTION BALANCED CONCEPT WITH CONSUMER
Inspired continuously by architecture and how it relates to social structures, Ross chose to focus the collection on materials: “The four I’m focusing on are clay, lead, glass and water. That’s informed the entire collection – it’s sequenced into four parts, with looks for each.” More conceptual pieces (like the bags which came with removable sculpted metal casings) were balanced with the super wearable – including an enhanced focus on tailoring. While he got his start creating more graphic garments, the branding on clothing is continuing to reduce season on season, subtly evident in a metal badge or pull tab rather than a printed logo. And the more structural pieces are not just for show – “My mission is to get those pieces of art onto people’s bodies,” he says.
IT STARTED RAINING
No, really. During the ‘Water’ section of the show, hoses misted the audience – including the likes of A$AP Ferg and Steve McQueen – in a light coating of rain, just as a shiny blue mac came down the runway.
THERE WAS A DIESEL COLLAB
Diesel’s Red Tag label – which first paired with Shayne Oliver’s Hood By Air and has since worked with Y/Project – is a way for the Renzo Rosso-founded denim brand to create collaborative collections with other designers. A-COLD-WALL* is the latest to partner. For Ross, it’s an opportunity to benefit from Diesel’s expertise, creating items that still feel like a part of his aesthetic universe, rather than taking a pair of existing jeans and just slapping his logo on. “It's about learning about denim and actualising a lot of the work I’ve been doing in all canvas since 2015,” he says. “I’ve been quite shy with denim because you have to be an expert. I felt like until I found an expert, I didn't want to do it.” The capsule – which featured washed, bleached pieces, from jeans to button up shirts – will drop in November.
THE ACW* CONVERSE WAS DEBUTED
Ross’s Nike Vomero, which featured an architecturally-inspired plastic cube extending outwards from the heels, has been pretty much impossible to ignore since it dropped back in November. Next up is the ACW* iteration of the Chuck Taylor All Star – which came encased in rubber and with elasticated laces pulled tight with a toggle.