kit neale serves gender-bending thrift store vibes for spring/summer 16
By rummaging through thrift rails and combing through the crap, charms and collectibles of car boot sales, Kit Neale spring/summer 16 frolics through the Great British pursuit of weekend treasure hunting.
Kit Neale is a self-confessed hoarder. Every nook and cranny of his studio is filled either with a kitsch oddity, sample, sketch or magazine. His corners of curiosities grow through his dirty weekend habit of car trunk sales, flea markets and thrift stores. For spring/summer 16, Kit reveals all. His collection lays out everything on to one of those well folded and slightly wonky trestle tables. Piled high it offers an insight into his personal inspirations, influences and motives as Kit questions the reason to design and probes the principles of fashion, art and culture.
"We've visited so many car trunk sales, up and down the country, from Hull to Milton Keynes to Battersea. Each has their own vibe but Battersea is my favorite," he confesses backstage. "I love the story objects can tell and how a once treasured item can become junk in one instant and rediscovered and re-loved, the next." With hand drawn characters, painterly florals, freehand embroideries and jacquards reminiscent of furnishings, each piece was full of character. Drenched in the sun and fun of summer, this was a collection to escape inside.
The oversized silhouettes and gender blurring played on the notion of hand-me-down garments with a mix and match nod to the New Romantics, Buffalo and Grunge movements that continually inspire Kit. It was free. "There are so many girls dressing in our menswear that we wanted to push it that bit further," he explains backstage. "Out of the Rainbow Brite collaboration, we didn't want to go full into womenswear but instead, introduce a few looks, it's just that the fit is different." As looks blurred between menswear and womenswear, it's important to stress that although echoing each other's spirit, both are distinct. "It's not womenswear on a man, it's a man's dress that has evolved from an old shirting block," he adds.
"This season, I really wanted to question why I am designing. I think for any designer the goal is to create an object that brings a sense of joy and can be admired, and to be able to have fun, freedom and expression." Transporting us from the quiet queerness of suburban car trunk sales to the jumble sale of his daydreams, it's impossible not to leave with a smile.
Text Steve Salter
Photography Mitchell Sams