meet the team behind a-cold-wall*
Follow us inside the studios of three London menswear designers, as we celebrate the people who are always ready to lend a pair of hands, aren't afraid to give a second opinion, and pull the required all-nighter before the show.
Samuel Ross, 26
Could you describe your role... Director, designer, creative director, (informally a person with ideas, who likes to work).
What are the rules you work to in the studio? Time does not exist, so there's no point in checking your iPhone. I make a push to be very hands on with experimental ways of working now more than ever... dying garments, smelting/moulding plastics.
What does A-COLD-WALL* mean to you? Theorized social commentary in the form of wearable garments, echoes of art history… hues of hardship.
What gets you through the late night before showtime? Obsessive behavior, this innate impending realization that I have subscribed to art before anything else, so it has to be excellent.
What's the weirdest/funniest thing you have ever seen/heard during fashion week so far? Humorous behavior on the front row, people squeezing into finite crevices of non-existent space… contortion at its finest.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would you change and why? I wouldn’t change a thing — it's one of the rare industries that is led by extreme creativity.
Finally, what advice would you like to pass on for anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps? Start now.
Andrew Harper, 27
Could you describe your role... Director, Business Strategist, Dot Connector, and creator of solutions.
What are the rules you work to in the studio? Nothing is impossible and everything has an urgency.
What does A-COLD-WALL* mean to you? The ability to put art first and never compromise on the intended vision, while also making it financially viable.
What gets you through the late night before showtime? The love for doing what we do and seeing the final outcome.
What’s the weirdest/funniest thing you have ever seen/heard during fashion week so far? People watching during a show is pretty funny. Especially all the different benches, sometimes the ones who care most about the show aren’t the ones squeezing themselves in the front row to get their pictures taken.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would you change and why? It’s hierarchical nature, but I guess the internet is changing that for me. In its very essence it should be about the art first rather than the politics of creating it.
Finally, what advice would you like to pass on for anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps? Just do it, it’s all possible. You’ll figure it out along the way.
Yi Ng, 21
Could you describe your role… Senior Retail and Creative Strategist (officially).... making sure all sentiments of the brands are brought to complete fruition.
What are the rules you work to in the studio? Showstudio interview in the background with debates to follow after…
What does A-COLD-WALL* mean to you? The inception of social commentary into a fashion context — making sure politics is the vanguard for art. More personally: beginning at 19 in Sydney after borrowing a piece from a friend before contacting Samuel and moving across the world to work for him.
What gets you through the late night before showtime? Knowing, realizing, remembering that our art is important.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would you change and why? Elitism across all industries — but appreciative of that the fashion industry provides a structure for art that is not available in others... a forced continuation of a narrative.
Finally, what advice would you like to pass on for anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
It’s okay to take a year out of law school to follow your intuition.
Kehinde Akin (Kenny or KwolleM), 23
Can you describe your role?
I feel like out of everyone at ACW*, my role’s been the most flexible. The general assumption is that I’m just the fit/e-com model. But as of mid last year, I’ve been managing and strategizing for E-commerce (admittedly tricky) and offering financial assistance.
Unwritten and never stated but...
In at 9:30, out no earlier than 7:00.
Don’t leave unless your tasks are done & the studio is spotless — which is almost impossible on the lead up to show.
If you’re ordering voodoo rays or cook daily and the bosses are around, take their orders.
What does A-Cold Wall Mean to you?
As a company, I think naturally with such a small team (when I joined, there were five people in the team), you become family very very quick. So every success, every failure, feels as personal as my own. So in that sense it means Family. As a brand, it’s that line between my hometown & 180 the strand. Connecting the both, catering for the both.
What gets you through the later nights before showtimes?
I just need a bottle of strawberry Volvic water & some UK drill music to keep me up and active.
What’s the weirdest/ funniest thing you have ever seen heard/ seen during fashion week?
Has to be Sam with Slick Rick’s chain on. Makes no sense, but makes so much sense. It’s a legendary co-sign.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would you change & why?
High fashion designers to find a balance between price and quality. People who aren’t swimming in disposable income shouldn’t feel ostracized from the experience.
Advice for anyone trying to follow in my footsteps?
Whether it’s paid or an internship — lead it with hard work, diligence, and reliability. Your reputation as a worker is what ultimately sparks the growth as a person and of responsibility within a brand. I’m a testament to that, with no formal fashion qualifications (although I can put a legendary outfit together, ask about me).
Portraits Elliott Morgan, background photography Alin Kovacs, collage Kristina Britton