A-COLD-WALL* S/S 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: Since its inception in 2015 A-COLD-WALL* has grown from servicing four stockists to an impressive 165. This rapid ascent has turned founder Samuel Ross into a zeitgeist of aspirational youth across the globe. His S/S 20 show was staged inside London’s gigantic Printworks event space which was, at one time, Western Europe’s largest print facility, spread over 119,200 square feet. The show was open to the public too, including students from Central Saint Martins and the Architectural Association School of Architecture. This altruism, Ross said backstage, is key to how he wants the brand to grow further. ‘Accessibility isn’t just about purchasing but about opening up the brand. I started from hardship, I’m not in that place anymore and I want to focus on a more positive, altruistic future,’ he said. The season became a study of four materials: clay, lead, water and glass and how humanity has worked with these to build infrastructure and the tribes that reside within it.
Best in show: Rather than cocooning, the clothes felt more in tune with the body than previous seasons. Tie-dye parkas had large obi-belts at the back and were hitched up at the hem; safari jackets in technical fabrics featured cables snaking through them like futuristic Calvary jackets. Padded channels ran down the sleeves on sweatshirts. Softer shapes built up off the body with ergonomic verve. Translucent rubber replaced dye cast metal trims, ushering in a softness and elasticity that wasn’t there before. The models had slices of lead attached to their faces in reference to Ross’s father, who is one of the only stained glass artists in the UK who is black. ‘I grew up watching him moulding and working with the material for more than 18 years. I wanted to imbue the heaviness and weightiness of lead. I’m very familiar with its properties which is why I wanted to include it in the collection. It is soft but also quite harsh, it is very warm and malleable too.’
Soundbite: ‘The main reason I wanted to invite the public is so that there isn’t a conservative division that is often associated with the bourgeoisie of fashion, and going forward, that doesn’t seem very liberal to me.’ Ross studied graphic and industrial product design before establishing his label. ‘It’s important that this stays like a circular form of communication and I see myself being the testing ground for that. I want to make sure that I use this position to empower others to enter from another angle, just like I did. I want to incubate that type of conversation.’ §