out of season: why one designer is rejecting the patterns of time
London born workwear stalwart Craig Green talks us through the launch of his core collection, a gradually evolving everyday uniform inspired by the brand’s signature styles.
craig green core collection. Photography Joachim Mueller Ruchholtz. Courtesy Mr. Porter
"Many of the pieces that I wear, and the pieces that most of the people around me wear, come from our early seasons," Craig Green explains from a quietest corner of his busy studio. "Many of us are creatures of habit in dress, we find things and brands that we like and buy into them, again and again." In addition to his favourite quilted, lace-tied workwear jackets, Green's everyday uniform involves a rotation of a week's worth of T-shirts, a couple of pairs of jeans and black canvas Converse. For a designer continually inspired by uniform, both functional and imagined, the realities and spiritualities of dress are at the forefront of his mind.
Marrying concepts of uniform and utility, function and emotion, restraint and freedom, Green's cult-like vision has provided some of the highest of highlights of London Fashion Week Men's since autumn/winter 13. While his shows are notorious for their drama and emotion, Green's steady development of simple, signature garments can be overlooked. In conversation with Tim Blanks for BoF last year, Craig hinted at the duality of design that troubles so many creative daydreamers and otherworldly crafters as they find their way in the industry. "One side is creative, the other side is uniforms and workwear. And sometimes, they're fighting." Beyond the seductive narratives and sense of spectacle, each of Green's runway presentations is rooted in a strong foundation of workwear inspired garments. One of the clearest examples of peaceful design has been the continued presence and subtle evolution of the Craig Green worker jacket, which has appeared consecutively since the brand's debut.
"Away from the theatre of shows, we're interested in creating a wardrobe or uniform for a customer." If at first he was vilified as unwearable on the front page of tabloids, he's become one of London's most worn designers. "It's exciting when someone you know wears your work, but it's even more exciting when you go somewhere and you see a stranger wearing it," he excitedly explained when we last sat down. Well, two years on and the cult of Craig continues to grow.
For autumn/winter 17, Craig Green reiterates this grounding in everyday reality with the debut of the Core Collection, a gradually evolving range of garments inspired by the brand's most significant styles. "We started with 12 styles and have now worked on 24 for next season. The aim is to build a wardrobe." Produced in hard-wearing fabrics from Italian mills, classic menswear staples are subtly reimagined with trademark Craig Green details, most notably string fastenings -- the brand's most signature motif. "The great thing is now we can really focus on the quality of garments, from the fit to the factories we use. We describe it as core because it's continuous, we work on the core a few months before the mainline." The Craig Green core collection has caught the eye of a number of retailers, most notably, Mr. Porter. To celebrate the launch, Green has designed three pieces in exclusive colours for the site.
"This core collection allows the mainline to be more experimental and expressive," he teases. A week after our chat, his spring/summer 18 show revealed a bolder, freer, more confident and even more poetic Green. "For spring/summer 18, Craig Green's nomadic procession crashes towards the shores of a constructed paradise," read the Vincent Levy penned show notes. Whirls of promise have circled this talent from the moment he presented his CSM MA collection back in 2012 and five years on, his first standalone show was an invitation to his promised land. As he blossoms both artistically and commercially, more and more of us will be joining the cult of Craig Green.
The Craig Green core collection is available alongside his mainline on Mr. Porter now.
Text Steve Salter