‘On the days we wore uniform, everyone was equal.’
Mixing function and folklore, ritual and gender, Craig Green is redefining menswear.
By Hans Ulrich Obrist
Photographs by Lena C. Emery
Styling by Camille Bidault-Waddington
Craig Green’s story reads like a route map for young British designers to follow. First, complete the MA in fashion design at Central Saint Martins. Then, using the momentum of your graduate show land a spot with Lulu Kennedy’s support platform Fashion East or the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN. After three seasons, having solidified your position as an emerging designer in the press and winning the trust of buyers, go solo. If you’d like, then you could always apply for the LVMH Prize or the ANDAM, and in the process gain more recognition and advice from industry professionals. None of this will happen, however, without the sort of raw design talent and clear vision that Craig Green has shown since his first collection in January 2013. The London-born designer started small, first working out of his parents’ house in 2012, then at the Sarabande Foundation – set up in memory of Alexander McQueen – where he had a studio until late 2017.
Green’s ongoing investigation into ideas of function and protection, ritual and folklore, has produced menswear that is complicated in its simplicity and speaks across gender and geography: beautifully cut “uniforms” with carefully judged detail. Originally at Central Saint Martins to study art, he has created sculptures for almost all his collections, transforming basic and found materials (plywood, tennis balls) into portable, wearable structures that complement and play off the clothes. While this has occasionally created some background noise – the face masks in his first collection, made from broken garden fencing, provoked a wave of sneering vitriol from Britain’s most conservative tabloid newspaper – his approach has been hailed by both buyers and critics who have praised its deep emotional resonance. Indeed, Green’s vision collects new converts with each passing season.
Read the full conversation between Green and artistic director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, Hans Ulrich Obrist in System No. 11. Click to buy.