If you ask Claire Barrow to define her own style in five words or less, her answer is upfront: “car boot sale”. It’s easy to see what she’s getting at – with her artfully deconstructed designs assembled in a way that is reminiscent of punk’s DIY ethic, Barrow makes her unique, neo-primitive paintings and drawings mesh with clothing in the most organic way possible.
Her collections, usually accompanied by the works of regular collaborators such as Dazed art director Jamie Reid and photographer Eloise Parry, embody a new, non-traditional form of beauty. If you want a reference, just look at Barrow’s AW15 campaign, set against a Lynchian red backdrop with models sharing bananas and donning Divine-esque make-up.
“I don’t have a person in mind while designing as it’s coming straight out of my head,” explains the designer, whose work draws strength from its IRL presentation – models interacting with one another in a space rather than whizzing past on a runway. “I do it for everyone, it doesn’t matter what you look like or are into.”
This year, Barrow will continue to blur the line between art and fashion, showing her AW16 presentation at the ICA for the second time running, and holding her very first solo art exhibition in April 2016. Along with collaborators and fellow Dazed 100 stars Parry, publisher Reba Maybury and stylist Akeem Smith, Barrow is one of the most exciting voices in underground culture right now. Her wish for 2016? “Get the Tories out!”
Text Biju Belinky