Thursday, 9 January 2014

Craig Green Autumn/Winter 2014 Menswear

Conceived as a platform to support emerging menswear businesses in the UK, MAN is a laudable initiative that, since it was founded in 2005, has allowed a select group of young designers to break into the competitive British fashion industry. A joint venture between clothing brand Topman and non-profit organisation Fashion East, the scheme provides support over three seasons in form of bursaries, assistance with the production of runway shows, and marketing and business advice to three labels picked by a panel.

The experts who decided who would receive support from MAN for their Autumn/Winter 2014 collections included b (AnOtherMan fashion director), Andrew Davies (Wonderland men’s fashion director), Ben Reardon (GQ Style editor), Luke Day (GQ Style Fashion Director), Nichola Formichetti (fashion editor and Diesel artistic director), Sam Lobban ( buyer) and Tim Blanks ( editor-at-large). Their final choices were Craig Green (who returned for his third and final season) and, for the second time, Bobby Abley and Alan Taylor, all of whom showed their creations in one fashion show during London Collections: Men on 6 January 2014.

A graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Craig Green has been an example of success that certainly deserves recognition for the future. In his short career, he has collaborated with brands including Bally of Switzerland, Grenson and Adidas, and his collections have been bought by prestigious stores in LondonMilan, New York and Tokyo such as Dover Street Market, 10 Corso Como, and Other Store. In 2013, he was nominated for the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award (alongside Prada, Louis Vuitton and Commes des Garçons) and for a British Fashion Award (in the Emerging Designer Menswear category).

Continuing with the personal penchant for colourful and complex patterns that he had explored in his previous collection, for Autumn/Winter 2014 Green offered painstakingly produced hand-painted garments that created a sequence of impressive psychedelic effects. To balance this riotous explosion of colour, looks alternated between full brightness and complete black or navy but always conjuring a confluence of cultures and religions. This symbiosis of influences was visible in the form of oversized coats, tunics and trousers made from heavy and yet fluid fabrics such as felt, wool and panelled frayed knitwear that evoked the lines of ceremonial robes and ancient noble warrior garments.

In addition, and rather whimsically, for his last appearance as part of the current cohort of MAN beneficiaries, Green opted to display his creations to the sounds of the quintessential 1980s pop ballads ‘Listen to your Heart’ by Roxette and Madonna’s ‘Live to Tell’. Either as a thank-you and goodbye gesture indicating the importance of the support of Fashion East and the belief in self-reliance, or just for pure fun and personal predilection for such melodies, the choice of such songs to accompany a confident collection only confirmed that Green’s passionate talent is here to stay and should be cherished. To the cynics who single-mindedly (and rather obtusely) misunderstood his previous creations by focusing on their styling rather than on the looks and garments themselves, the glimpse of the romantic undertones in his Autumn/Winter 2014 menswear collection closed Craig Green’s reign at MAN with a demonstration of tremendous creative talent that deserves not to be dismissed.

Photographs by, courtesy of Fashion East / Craig Green

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