A-COLD-WALL* AW18 ‘NATIONAL GALLERY ROOM 1’
Photographer Ollie Adegboye Shoots First Looks Backstage At The AW18 Runway Show
Samuel Ross’ contribution to British fashion and the industry is adamant. The founder and designer of A-COLD-WALL* has quietly climbed to the top of the fashion circuit, and was this week certainly one of the highlights during London Fashion Week Mens.
Communicating London’s street culture through a sartorial response, Ross celebrates Britain’s working class – a fundamental part of every social sculpture but forever overlooked.
It’s always astonishing to remember that A-COLD-WALL* was only founded in 2015. Founder and designer Samuel Ross has come a long way in a short matter of time. Together with Andrew Harper, his director of PR and strategy, the rise can be attributed to their long-term and close partnership. Vogue recently commented that Ross has made his first million (dollars or overall social followers, it is most likely both) and his success is ultimately down to his persona and undeniable talent. A-COLD-WALL* has found waves internationally (exhibiting in Copenhagen and Tokyo, with multiple stockists in Hong Kong, America and Australia) where he has celebrated, and taken the London ‘brand’ with him. His designs are a true reflection of the uniform worn here by, most accurately, Ross’ contemporaries here in London (Ross was born in Brixton) or even in Northampton, Leicester and Leeds (where he grew up, lived and studied respectively). Side bags, garments with hidden pockets, caps… if it is practical and serves a purpose, that design detail will be in the collection. Offering practicality with inventiveness and edge, the ACW designs can be seen a mile away. Outerwear is always the strong point for A-COLD-WALL*, seeing Autumn Winter as one of the most anticipated seasons.
Titled ‘National Gallery ROOM 1′, the AW18 collection aims to connect parallels found throughout British society and is a conceptual expression of the ACW ethos. Ross’ background and informed viewpoint allows him to relay undertones accurately in a reflective manner (certainly not provocatively which could also be another attribute to the brands success). The AW18 collection highlights this visually, through the comparison of the colour palettes found in industrial worksites and British establishments or institutions. Cue in the title for this collection, ‘National Gallery Room 1’, where Ross is able to break down the obvious barriers which exist between the two points of subject matter — both class-defined. By juxtaposing the two, Ross is changing the perceptions of the general public attitude toward both.
Garment construction and silhouettes reflect workwear and construction sites, whilst materials used such as steel, iron and plastics also found there simultaneously link to British institutions like the National Gallery, where their architecture is based upon these materials also. Going even further, the same materials are used in sculpture, found through various artists’ works, although holding an entirely different value. The addition of materials such as boiled hand-threaded wools and thermo-reactive nylons provide innovation to deconstructable garments. The stone and steel tones of the collection reflect all of these elements, intertwining them for a new type of originality.
The AW18 runway show, held in the British Fashion Council’s 180 The Strand space, was attended by musicians and friends, with GoldLink, Benji B and Siobhan Bell all in the front row. LA native Aleali May walked the show (last season musician Rejjie Snow and Boiler Room’s Skinny Macho walked) along with an extremely diverse group of models casted by Marqee Miller. Through this genuine exchange of skills and networks, A-COLD-WALL* is growing faster than any other brand with a similar output. The brand is aspirational but non-hierarchal, and it is exactly what is needed in fashion in general right now.
Writer: Monique Kawecki
All Backstage Photography: Ollie Adegboye