Fashion & Beauty / Culture Talks

The Designer Taking Workwear Back to its Roots

Captured within Sweden’s ancient Falun copper mine, HIGH’s A/W17 campaign is a celebration of all things utilitarian

Fuelled by a personal philosophy that “anything worth making should be made as beautifully as possible”, designer Claire Campbell’s creations are rebelling against a world of fanciful, ‘throwaway’ fashion. Campbell’s label, HIGH – everyday couture, is defined by an intent to combine the beauty and skill of couture garment creation with the functionality and durability of classic workwear pieces. The A/W17 collection for HIGH Use, a thread of the brand’s seasonal offering, is no exception to this ethos: sheepskin jackets are paired with layered linen tailoring, whilst cropped worker trousers are reimagined in virgin wool and Cupro – a sustainable fibre made from recovered cotton waste.

The setting for the campaign perfectly mirrors Campbell’s utilitarian aesthetic. Shot amongst the vast expanses of Sweden’s Falun ‘treasure chest’ copper mine, it is a modern-day homage to the site’s former purpose. “It is visually extraordinary,” says Campbell of the location. “A man-made landscape and gigantic monument to ingenuity and hard work”. Until its closure in 1992, the Falun mine, a World Heritage site, served as Europe’s main copper source for an entire millennium. Now, the dramatic landscape of rolling, rock-covered hills, orange-hued pools and slate walls serve as the perfect backdrop to the HIGH Use collection’s muted colour palette of greys, brown and navy.

Campbell’s continued exploration of workwear goes beyond the simple referencing of key fabrics or shapes. “There are fabrics suitable for ‘work’ in the broadest sense” she explains, “cotton twill, leather and pinstripes, but the collection also references ‘work’ in the form of embroidery, stitch work, pleating and construction”. This attention to technical detail, which Campbell describes as an ‘integrity of make’, can be an often overlooked commodity in a continually fast moving fashion world, and it is somewhat refreshing to see it addressed so directly. For a truly reliable, wearable future fashion brand, perhaps it is not about substance over style or vice versa, but rather a definitive balance of the both.

The HIGH Use A/W17 collection is available to buy now.

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