A-COLD-WALL* alumnus Elliot Long tells AnOther about his newest design venture, Parabola Works: a provocative, multisensory clothing brand inspired by “different facets of human emotion”
- Who is it? Parabola Works is a new London-based brand and multidisciplinary project founded by A-COLD-WALL* alumnus Elliot Long
- Why do I want it? Clothes have been designed to provoke an emotional response
- Where can I find it? Coming soon to parabola-works.com
Who is it? A few weekends ago, in a factory in the heart of east London, 22-year-old Elliot Long debuted his newly founded label Parabola Works with an off-schedule show and collection. Titled Imp of The Perverse, after Edgar Allen Poe’s 1845 short story, the show centred on a cast of Long’s friends who were each given a character to portray, based on the writing in his journals. “I like to design with words and feelings,” the designer explains over a phone call. “I would make diary entries addressed to different imagined characters. For me, these characters represented different facets of human emotion – and it’s these emotions that I want Parabola Works to bring out in people.”
Long, who previously collaborated closely with Samuel Ross at A-COLD-WALL*, is also a trained chef, having worked at the likes of Copenhagen’s Noma. With Parabola Works, the designer is now combining his two first loves, clothing and food, through craftsmanship and performance-based experiences, designed to appeal to the senses. Imp of The Perverse did just that, with some audience members even moved to tears. Devised in partnership with movement director Reginald Robson, the show featured insects that were ground to a pulp behind a glass box, wine being poured into a cup before the bottle was promptly smashed over the drinker’s head, and – as Long’s ensemble cast of friends walked about the show space to a spine-tingling soundtrack by Akira Woodgrain – wailing extras chasing each other, bashing themselves against the brick walls of the warehouse in the process.
Why do I want it? “Sometimes, when you leave a fashion show you think, ‘wow, what world have I just been in?’ and that’s really what I’m trying to achieve with Parabola Works – to make people feel something. I truly believe that there is a way to do that with clothes,” says Long. Each look worn by his cast of characters was tailored lovingly from deadstock fabrics, sourced from a factory that was changing ownership. “The fabric would have otherwise gone to waste and I grabbed as much as I possibly could,” explains the designer. Heavy wool and velvet, in a muted and monochrome colour palette (aside from some flourishes of blood red and deep purple here and there), formed jackets and pinstriped trousers. A wet-look dress, cast to the human body, had been formed using heavy-duty adhesive and black ink, and other pieces were treated with painterly prints by artist Jack Laver. Buttons, which adorned most of the clothes, faintly echoed the work of the late Judy Blame.
“I’m an east London boy through and through,” he says. “I was born and raised in Barking and all the buttons I make in my nan’s garden. One of the characters is also based on my grandad, who was a fisherman,” Long says. But it’s not just blood ties that are important to the designer when it comes to building the foundations of his new brand. “Collaborating with people like Jack, the label already feels like a family.” Sure enough, Parabola Works is a label that only a city like London could birth – and it’s one that you’ll want to keep your eyes on.
Where can I find it? Coming soon to parabola-works.com.