Creative director Samuel Ross originally established his eponymous fashion label A-Cold-Wall in Autumn/Winter 2015, which ultimately transpires as a sartorial reflection of London’s street culture, infused with the spirit of Britain’s working class. Encompassing a multidisciplinary aesthetic that illustrates handcrafted graphics manifested through garments and silhouettes, every A-Cold-Wall collection evolves its conceptual approach through the means of materials and fabrics – fashion and the arts – creating an innovative, highly contemporary zeitgeist.
Ross’s latest Autumn/Winter 2018/19 collection elevated utilitarian clothing to a new-fangled, futuristic level, which celebrated his expertise as a craftsman, where he designs functional garments with a fashion-forward edge. His latest offering, held amid the National Gallery, was inspired by construction site uniforms, where a witnessing of scaffolder silhouettes was reimaged and rendered in high-tech and super-luxe fabrications that included hand-threaded wools and nylons that were thermoreactive.
“I was looking at artists like Anthony Caro,” he clarified backstage. “The materials he uses are so industrial, but when they’re put into a gallery environment, we see them in a new context.” Designing his utilitarian workwear garments from metallic, rubberized nylon, or hand-dyed bull denim, Ross was applying recognisable aesthetics at the same time as artfully metamorphosing them into modern day pieces. “When you think of the working class, what are the first things that come to mind? It’s about bringing all of those aspects into a collection and presenting them in a gallery,” he said. “I was born in Brixton; I grew up in Northampton; lived in Leicester for five years, Leeds for two… I have a pretty good idea of the industrial working class up and down the country.”
Tracksuits with a techy-y vibe, oversized jackets with metallic detailing, slouchy knitwear, rigid windbreakers, buckled puffer vests, nylon satchels and rain splattered wellington boots were collectively noted as collection standouts.
Words by Kate Farley