Countless collections celebrate heroes of the battlefield and wrap themselves in the cloak of conflict but few explore what happens when a soldier's war is over. With wreath wrapped necks, message adorned shoulders and pinstripe play, Matthew Miller embraced a returning army for spring/summer 15.
There's a constant struggle within Matthew's work but here, there was a romance that softened the resistance. It was a romance of reality. Unlike the one-size-fits-all demob suits the design talent encountered during his research, his everyday armour was carefully sculpted, copy, pasted and manipulated to create pinstriped sentiment. Sentiment heightened with succinct, interchangeable statements stuck to shoulders and sides. Anti War, Anti Social, Anti You. Statements forever sizzle in Matthew's mind and these six words were the chosen few that burned this season, overblown and oversized on grosgrain straps that gave the wearer the power to construct their own social message. With his words echoing around the Victoria House showspace, i-D shared a few more with Matthew backstage...
There was a surprising sensual element this season…
It was less about me being a lad, it was more sentimental.
What was the catalyst?
I was looking at a photograph of my grandad in his demob suit and that was a romantic image on my wall. It all started from there. From this image, it went to a darker place as I went beyond WWII and thought about the 70s and Falklands.
Where else did your research take you?
I searched for and bought demob suits. They were falling apart because they were so poorly made. I played around with them, shredding them up and putting them back together to create all these different textures.
Your eye cuts through the expected view of war.
Thanks. I wasn’t necessarily just thinking about the utilitarian side, I was thinking about the more despairing side. I explored the breakdown of returning soldiers trying to integrate themselves back into everyday life and I brought in the flowers to represent the sentiment, the memorials.
It was a nice continuation from the 13 Apostles exhibition at Other-Shop.
I hope so. I don't think I've ever bought flowers twice, quite so quickly. It's easy to forget that flowers have a darker side, they can be sombre.
What emotion are you feeling now? You tend to rip things up and quickly move on to next season.
I can't take it in just yet. This was the hardest collection I've done, in the quickest turnaround and I've not had opportunity to think about the next step. I just want a drink, watch the football and to not think about sentiment.