The topic of menswear is certainly on the mind of every fashion-conscious person as of late, especially with Men’s Fashion Week in full swing. As people gather in London to witness the city’s offerings, it makes sense to speak about one of last season’s highlights.
Craig Green, a London native, wowed the fashion world back in January with his menswear collection. Green’s designs have been sported by Drake, Jay-Z, and Rihanna (His clothes are notably not just a favorite among men). Another of his most notable projects are the costumes for 2015’s Alien: Covenant, for which he was enlisted as a designer.
Green studied at Central Saint Martins College. When asked about his decision to study art, the designer reportedly said “I was always surrounded by make-y people. My mum was always doing craft things and there were a lot of lots of building materials from my dad – immersion boilers and stuff everywhere.”
However, perhaps as expected from someone who produces such unique work, Green does own up to feeling somewhat alienated during his college years. “It was very much the era of Alexander McQueen and Diane von Furstenberg, and everyone was doing florals and feminine.” Green notes, “I wasn’t fitting into that aesthetic.” He recalls his initial struggles, stating “I made a few really bad dresses for a charity fashion show, I didn’t know how to sew – they were pretty much stapled together I think.”
One could see where the designer is coming from, as much of Mr. Green’s work largely seems to contradict the flowing, softness that is traditionally associated with women’s fashion. Green, who up until now has mainly designed under the category of menswear, cites the influence of designers such as Henrik Vibskov and Walter Van Beirendonck as the turning point for him; “ They are outsider designers that taught me that fashion could be about anything. It could be about DIY or workwear or uniform or craft. It doesn’t have to be glamorous womenswear.”
Considering the reception of his work today, it does seem like Green has found his niche. Shortly after graduating, Green began his own label in 2012; thus also beginning his meteoric rise to prominence. “My designs always play on ideas of function, things that used to be functional or things that look like they do something but they don’t.” The Guardian describes his Spring/Summer collection, which debuted in January, as “a comment on the bleak notion of paradise as aspirational lifestyle and the illusory search for the perfect body.”
When elaborating even further on the inspiration behind his designs, Green does observe a fixation with uniforms, noting “…we always go back to ideas of uniform, or having lots of guys wear the same kind of thing.” Green reasons that “It might just be because people don’t really wear uniforms anymore, and I think there’s something romantic about having a communal way of dress.” The designer even recalls his experiences in grade-school: “At school when you had a no-uniform day, that was the point when everyone separated. You started judging each other on how cool or expensive your clothes were. You started seeing the different levels of rich and poor kids. But when you had uniforms, everyone was equal.”
You can certainly see traces of this throughout his work, much of Green’s designs are defined by long, clean silhouettes. The model’s faces are often obscured by large-dramatic hoods; with many of his pieces decorated by harsh-geometric patterns. These collections do reflect Green’s fixation with the anonymity and equality of uniform, but something about them does seem to also hint at some level of individuality as well.
Since the launch of his label, Green has received accolades such as British Menswear Designer of the Year; an award which he has won twice. This season, he will be opening Pitti Uomo in France as a guest designer.