Menswear’s Next Big Thing: Craig Green

We caught up with London designer Craig Green to discuss evoking emotions, creative continuity and groups bonded through clothing

The designer Craig Green backstage at his Fall 2015 show
The designer Craig Green backstage at his Fall 2015 show

Kimono jackets loosely belted worn with matching wide legged trousers, knotted, tied, festooned and ribboned lengths of fabrics gently billowing whilst following the wearer’s every move: grouped in primal colours including bright orange, denim blue and a single all black look, Craig Green’s Spring 2016 was a beautiful and thought-provoking highlight of the recent London Collections: Men.

For the first time, the collection also included garments specifically designed for his growing female customer base, joining male models wandering the runway to Hans Zimmer’s otherworldly soundtrack to film Interstellar. ‘My collection inspirations play a large part when selecting the show music, I try to create a specific feeling in the show space for the audience so they are able to understand the collection as much as possible.’ Each Craig Green show has been a detail-oriented combination of presentation order, styling, casting and soundtrack, inviting the audience to become part of the London born designer’s poetic world. Immersive experiences that sadly only last the usual few minutes.

Backstage at Craig Green’s Fall 2015 show

Green has been evolving his signature ever since the first on schedule collection, presented during Fashion East and Topman’s MAN showcase for the Fall 2013 season. The inaugural show set a framework, revealing sculptural inspirations in innovative knitwear, layered voluminous clothing and core items. ‘The collections always have a strong focus around workwear and function, each having its own version of a signature workwear jacket.

So although the inspirations vary from season to season – there is always an ongoing aesthetic seen running through.’ For Fall 2015, the traditional chore garment was featured in black, with two versions of different lengths layered on top of each other, in addition to alternatives such as a slightly cropped dark navy design. The Fall 2015 collection, which explored uniforms and garments worn for protection, combined pristine white cotton tops, their fabric manipulated through knots and twists, convulsing around the wearer’s torso, with padded outerwear and voluminous trousers. The colour scheme was limited to green, navy and for the first time also red. ‘

The collection was based around classical ideas and significance of colour – red as a colour of importance and all the connotations that come along with that colour historically. The red was used right in the centre of the colour in only three looks, the rest of the looks were meant to give the impression of them surrounding or protecting the red’.

Red, whites and greens. Drawstring details on shirst and jackets from Craig Green's Fall 2015 collection
Red, whites and greens. Drawstring details on shirst and jackets from Craig Green’s Fall 2015 collection

During the current London Collections: Men, this collection could be seen in Craig Green’s first advertising campaign, shot by Nick Knight and capturing models mid-movement. To celebrate the campaign’s unveiling, the designer also created an installation for Dover Street Market, taking over the sprawling glass façade of the shop’s Mayfair location. This collaboration marks the second between Craig Green and Dover Street Market, one of the brand’s first stockists. Supporters of Green’s work, of which there are many, also include international museums; his work is currently on display as part of the Met’s ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and looks from his graduate collection were nominated for the prestigious ‘Design of the Year’ Award by London’s Design Museum in 2013.

The graduate collection was also awarded the much sought after L’Oreal Professionelle Creative Award and marked Green’s successful departure from Central Saint Martins, where he first enrolled as a BA student. ‘I had an incredible time at Central Saint Martins. The move from the BA to the MA felt very natural during my time there. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be taught and mentored by Professor Louise Wilson OBE’.

Craig Green's current window installation at Dover Street Market London
Craig Green’s current window installation at Dover Street Market London

‘My studio is based in East London. It is an extremely busy environment as with all design studios but we are a fairly small team so there is always a great atmosphere working with close friends.’ says Green. This approach extends to his collections’ sculptural elements, such as the billowing flags seen in the Spring 2015 show. ‘I work very collaborative with an old friend of mine David Curtis Ring – he is incredibly talented and amazing to work with.

We build the pieces together along with my studio team.’ Collaborations and friendships are mirrored in the collections. Green’s cast of serene revellers led the way during a season that focused on sartorial groupings, from Matthew Miller’s interpretations of the business suit to J.W. Anderson’s mystic haven. Green explains that, ‘I have always been inspired by communal ways of dressing and groups of people’.

Backstage photos: Philip Banks