designer marvin desroc set himself free with his csm graduate collection

Young menswear designer Marvin Desroc brought together all the different facets of his personality, channelled them through his MA collection and created something totally unique.

by Ryan White
12 July 2019, 7:15am

“Even though it doesn’t look like it, the actual aesthetic is very masculine,” says Marvin Desroc of his graduate collection. “Gender has always been at the forefront of my work, somehow.”

Born in Martinique and raised in Paris, Marvin studied Fashion Design at School Duperré Paris before enrolling on the Menswear MA at Central Saint Martins. At just 23, he’s already won legions of fans in the industry and online thanks to this fresh interpretation of menswear. “There’s so much inspiration when you’re actually surrounded by people who are simply living their truths,” he says of London. Yet as a teenager, fashion seemed like an industry far beyond his reach, available only to those in a world he did not inhabit. “Growing up, seeing any fashion show on TV was mesmerising. I just didn’t know it could be a possibility for me,” he says. “As I got older and began to explore this passion, designers like Alaïa, McQueen or Gaultier became so relatable me. Not just because of the clothes, but because of their stories. Their struggle in life. I related to that.”

marvin desroc

Developing a concept for his clothing that riffs of all these acclaimed designers, with a defined sense of individuality, Marvin reached a confident conclusion to his studies back in February. Without looking at the clothes, the descriptions alone of his MA collection should convey the incongruity of his different references and blurring together of ideas. The “black girdle wifebeater with silk organza boxer under the tailored baggy trousers” -- a standout piece later worn by Olly Alexander of Years and Years on the red carpet earlier this year -- frames the wearer as strong, empowered, the cut of each piece and the softness of the materials clash to create something beautiful. “My designs are more refined now,” Marvin says of his progression. “Still ridiculous but more elegant. More intelligent.”

He finds inspiration in everything, from his friends -- “They are out here being who they are, unapologetically” -- to the internet. “I’m a huge fan of memes and ratchet podcasts,” he says. “These two things actually give me some crazy ridiculous ideas from time to time. The more ridiculous it is, the more I love it, hence these stupid bows. I find it really interesting to mix these worlds that have nothing to do with each other and create a story that links all of it together in a way that reflects my upbringing, my desires, fears.” After all, ultimately this collection is a story about Marvin himself. “As shallow as it sounds, the starting point was obviously myself: my upbringing and how I felt growing up. I wanted to set myself free and mend my relationship with my old self I guess. I had to do it in order to move on as I was entering another chapter of my life.”

marvin desroc

Studying in London has been an experience of highs and lows for the young designer, a feeling many graduates and designers can attest to. “CSM was such an emotional rollercoaster. A huge cloud of doubt was following me through the whole journey, and I think I only started seeing clearer a few weeks after the MA show.” The biggest challenge he faced was navigating the sensitivities and intricacies of the themes the explored in the collection -- “gender and blackness” -- not wanting his work to misrepresent or have its identity misconstrued. “I feel like right now, some see it as ‘popular’ or a ‘new wave’, so the actual challenge was bringing my sincere point of view to these topics, which truly represent who I am, without it being digested as ‘another trendy black designer’ I guess,” he says.

With the images in this story, Marvin wanted to make a point of this. “I went for this larger than life and ridiculous wig to not only mock masculinity, of course, but because people have just put wigs onto black men now as a trend, when in fact, hair is deep-rooted into our own notion of identity. I started tackling these subjects when I started studying fashion, almost five years ago, but now that it has propelled into the spotlight. I had to really think about what my contribution would mean.”

marvin desroc
marvin desroc
marvin desroc
marvin desroc
marvin desroc


Photography François Quillacq
Casting director Remi Felipe
Hair Yumiko Hikage
Make-up Louisa Trapier

Models Cedric, Elite and Kandioura, Rockmen

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Central Saint Martins
marvin desroc