Out of all the designers showing at London Collections: Men, Matthew Miller is possibly the most exciting conceptually and politically. The Royal College of Art alumni’s collections often serve as commentary on his and his generation’s resentments with a political system which neither seems to acknowledge or care about the financial, ecological, and legislative legacy they will inherit.
You sometimes get the feeling Miller would be happier working outside of the established fashion infrastructure, his work inhabiting that space where fashion, politics and art intersect. In fact, the designer’s Spring/Summer 2016 menswear collection was born out of frustration whilst applying for the British Fashion Council and GQ Designer Menswear Fund, the painstaking hours of business plans and financial projections.
Miller says that this season he grew up – and so did his customer, from begrudging, browbeaten wage slave to slightly-more-embittered company man, dressed in a subversion of business formal for a promised Margaret Atwood near-fi Utopia which was never delivered, tags attached to wrists like airline luggage labels, or Logan’s “life-clock” crystal. Textiles are deliberately crinkled then austerely tailored, or shredded, hanging in rags, as if the designer’s discontent had spilled over into the collection. Heavy Oxfords by heritage footwear brand Robert Clergerie complete the uniform. The stark palette adds an unnerving sterility.
Conform. Constrict. Control. These are Matthew Miller’s new watchwords. If this is the designer’s output when stressed, you can’t help but wonder what he could be capable of if the pressure was eased a little.
Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com