u clothing and elgar johnson team up for a celebration of youth
i-D premieres the brand's new video for autumn/winter 15.
Founded in 2012 by designer Rafal Antos and managing director Don-Alvin Adegeest, previously of Giorgio Armani and LVMH respectively, U Clothing make the coolest luxury streetwear around. Seamlessly blending contemporary casual wear with classic athletic shapes, their designs focus on fabric quality and masculine styling. Sweaters, hoodies and joggers come in Alpaca jersey and brushed terry, with American sportswear-inspired wool bombers featuring juxtaposed utility pockets and twisted seams. Field jackets and fishtail parkers come in subdued colours, with the emphasis always on function. With streetwear at the core of their brand, who better to style U Clothing's debut LC:M collection than i-D family and Fashion Director at Man About Town, Elgar Johnson.
i-D are pleased to present the premiere of U Clothing's autumn/winter 15 collection film, a celebration of youth. With Elgar and Raf both very much inspired by adolescence, we spoke to the international dream team, delving into their past - Raf's teenage years in Warsaw and Elgar's in Peterborough - to discover the music, muses and Maccy Ds that shaped their lives and still influence their aesthetics today. Watch and learn...
"We smoked, we drank, we played, we laughed, we cried, we kissed, there were boys there were girls, there was football there was fishing. Mopeds and brick pits late nights and early mornings. Fake ID and fights at the weekend, make ups came during the week, Tesco shopping trolleys and only the best clothes for Saturday night stinking of Farenheit.
Homework and Howards Way making you dread the next day. Nova GT down the rec or McDonalds, up town to parade yourself every Saturday afternoon and sometimes Thursday.
Embassy Number 1 and the sound of the This Morning theme tune equals successful skiving.
Happy, sad, friends and enemies, house, hip-hop, trip-hop and Brit-pop. We were all young once, this is just an example of my youth, the most important time in your life. Enjoy it, live it, love it and then learn from it…" - Elgar Johnson, stylist
Your teenage years in five words...
RAF: Music, fun, insecurities, friendship and freedom.
ELGAR: Football, music, trainers, Liverpool and McDonalds.
Your favourite teenage outfit...
RAF: Orange Benetton sweatshirt with vintage oversize jeans and Converse.
ELGAR: I had a brilliant SPX trackie which I wore with SPX trainers and sometimes a custard shop hat from Mash, the best shop on Oxford St at the time. I looked awesome.
How your style has changed since then?
RAF: The sweatshirts are now monochrome, the jeans are slim fitting and the Converse have been replaced with Nike sneakers.
ELGAR: It hasn't really changed… just the labels I wore then have all closed down or got a bit crap.
The song that sums up your youth...
RAF: Only Shallow by My Bloody Valentine.
ELGAR: I would say Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry or Mantronix' Got To Have Your Love. The music released in 88-89 was amazing.
Your favourite place to hang out back then?
RAF: The front yard.
ELGAR: We used to hangout at the Rec (the park), the local shops and brick pits. Before we went clubbing we'd go to a car park hidden by bushes and drink there first because it was cheaper. Me and my mates all knew it as "the place".
Favourite word beginning with U...
ELGAR: Udder, it's just gross.
The ultimate U Clothing boy...
RAF: River Phoenix!
ELGAR: The ultimate boy would be someone like River Phoenix or Corey Haim when he was in the Lost Boys. Early 90s Goldie would of been brilliant as well.
The movie that U Clothing would be right at home in...
RAF: My Own Private Idaho.
ELGAR: I'm not sure about films but it would of been good to have all the lads from the TV show This Life wearing U clothing.
Favourite piece from the collection?
RAF: The utility bomber in coated rigid houndstooth wool.
ELGAR: There's a sheepskin-lined denim jacket that has my name all over it. And the tracksuits are great.
How did the collaboration come about?
RAF: We met through Ella Dror, our amazing press officer.
ELGAR: I was introduced to Raf and Don by their PRs Ella Dror and Ashley Smith. I'm sure you've heard of them, but if you haven't, they're basically the heartbeat of what's happening with exciting new designers in London and are both so brilliant at what they do. I trust their opinion and have supported them for many years and will continue to. I met the guys from U and we hit it off talking about the 90s and just loved their idea and what they were looking to achieve. I'm a huge fan of streetwear and these guys shared the same opinion.
What makes masculinity in the modern man?
RAF: Not following the latest fashion fads.
ELGAR: Confidence not arrogance.
What does U Clothing being part of LC:M means to you?
RAF: Exposure to a wider fashion audience.
ELGAR: I'm very happy and proud of the U Clothing guys and their team, as well as the wonderfully talented people that worked on this project. From Josh Osborne who directed the film, to Michael Mayren who photographed the collection and Warren Leech, a brilliant young stylist who has great opinions and taste. That's what this project was about for me personally - helping these guys to exhibit their talents.
The future of U Clothing
ELGAR: The future of U Clothing is looking good because streetwear is a huge part of the way we live. If they stay true to that then they'll be alright. Not everyone wants to wear a fucking ballgown everyday.
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Michael Mayren