The New Designer Making Gender Neutral Clothing Her Own Way

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Roni Ilan SS19 Look 1
Roni Ilan S/S19

Roni Ilan’s beautifully considered clothing is made for men and women at once

  1. Who is it? Roni Ilan is a London-based designer creating clothes that can be worn by men and women 
  2. Why do I want it? Elevated, minimalist basics and classic tailoring in carefully considered colour palettes
  3. Where can I find it? At Opening Ceremony New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and LN-CC 

Who is it? Designer Roni Ilan was born in New York, grew up in Israel and is now based in London, having enrolled on the BA Menswear course at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 2013. Two and a half years ago Ilan took the plunge and founded her namesake label, drastically altering the direction of her work in the process, both literally and figuratively. “This was a big step for me,” she explains over the phone from her studio. “Before I looked at what I did more as an art project. It was very concept-driven. But then I had a baby, and starting a family very much influenced how I design. I began looking practically at making items of clothing that we wear every day: pyjamas, tailored shirts and jackets. Pieces we might wear around the home. I thought about how to elevate those pieces, and it really developed from there.”

Everything that the brand produces is made in London between the label’s studio and factory, with Ilan carefully overseeing the design process from toile to finished garment. “Each piece we make receives a lot of attention,” she says. While Ilan’s technical background is in menswear, with her first few collections focusing on her chosen specialism, she has recently expanded into womenswear, with a lot of her work – including the latest offering for S/S19 titled Feelings – now erring on the side of gender neutrality.

Why do I want it? Roni Ilan has mastered the art of how to execute simplicity with finesse. The S/S19 collection presents cotton T-shirts and sheer-knit bodysuits evocative of dancewear, alongside sharp blazers and jackets, resulting in an aesthetic that is familiar yet fresh. Indeed, most of the clothes are based on the concept of familiarity and memory, with the starting point for Ilan’s designs beginning with a photograph taken of her as a child by the Dead Sea in Israel. “I tried to remember how I felt at that time – I was maybe four years old. I couldn’t quite remember the details of that moment, but the clothes I was wearing told a story.”

Colour also plays a central role in everything that Roni Ilan does, with beautifully considered palettes in azure and power blues, with putty neutrals and taupes grounded in squid-ink black. Some of the S/S19 tones have even been created by a hand dying process, using mud from the dead sea. “I am insinctively drawn to colour,” concurs Ilan, noting that the brand’s next presentation will take on a much darker hue. “We’re showing it during women’s fashion week A/W19, for the first time ever,” she says. “It’s men’s and women’s, around 56 pieces – there’s a lot of faux leather. I’m really excited for what the future holds.” 

Where can I find it? At Opening Ceremony New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and LN-CC.