RCA graduate and Fashion East menswear designer Liam Hodges combines Morris dancing, grafitti and The Notorious B.I.G. in his debut collection...
The Royal College of Art has a history of nurturing brilliiant fashion design talent (see our womenswear tip here). At this year's MA graduate show, the menswear students, taught by visiting lecturer Simon Foxton, were standout. Whilst finalising his collection, student Liam Hodges was selected for inclusion in Fashion East's presentation at the recent London menswear collections.
Hodges' collection – a heady mix of workwear, traditional craftsmanship and enlarged silhoettes – makes for an intriging Fashion Equation. His collection for Fashion East was a development of his RCA body of work. "It's all about Morris dancing but not traditional Morris dress. It's about putting Morris into clothes that'd make me want to go out dancing with Morris," explains Hodges. Morris dancing was the intitial starting point for the designer's research. The form of English folk dance is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers, usually wearing bell pads on their shins, and can be traced back to 1448.
"It's all about Morris dancing but not traditional Morris dress. It's about putting Morris into clothes that'd make me want to go out dancing with Morris"
Another key influence was grafitti, which was representative of Hodges' approach to both design and aesthetic. His techniques included painting onto fabrics with graffiti pens loaded with fabric dye and patchworking fabrics. Incorporating patchwork folk elements with hard-wearing workwear details, the collection utilises strong graphic identities on oversized T-shirts and knitted pieces.
The styling of the collection was another aspect which clearly marked Hodges as a contender for the Fashion East inclusion. Taking nods from icons such as The Notorious B.I.G., Hodges cleverly mixed 90s hip hop style references with modern details such as the Nike "Pool Slides" footwear worn by his models (all street cast for the presentation).
Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.