Artistic movements are often informed by the political climate at the time. In the late-Eighties and early-Nineties rave culture rose from the remains of a Britain dismantled by Margaret Thatcher’s government, its “interminably hip” Generation X protagonists representing an opposing ethos to the endemic financial voracity. Generation X, my generation, had the world at its Wallabees – so what went wrong?
The “free market”. Money changed hands. Those raves in multi-storey carparks grew into Superclubs. Names became brands. Philosophies became mission statements. The so-called Slackers grew up and realised there’s no money in the underground, and youth culture became just another commodity. Now Matthew Miller is pissed-off, and you can’t really blame him.
Miller’s Autumn/Winter 2013 collection is a uniform for office anarchists, slim dark suiting cropped mid-calf with revolutionary flashes of scarlet. Rubber-dipped Timberland boots add to the utilitarian aesthetic. The slogan “BORN TO FAIL” lifted from hipster poster boy Dee Dee Ramone runs throughout, both on knitwear and embossed by laser into technical jersey raincoats. Another symbol of rebellion, the biker jacket, is rendered in mock-croc leather.
It’s hard to tell whether Miller’s urban warriors are in work, or at war, with their tightly-tailored trenches and field packs courtesy of H by Harris. The military elements of the collection are also referenced in Fannie Schiavoni’s polished and anodized metal jewellery.
Simultaneously ordinary, yet extraordinary, Miller’s collection serves as both a work of art and political polemic.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog.