- TextRob Nowill
As the designer debuts his S/S19 collection at Pitti Uomo, we explore the brand’s appeal
Ignore the ad campaigns. Ignore the celebrity placements. Ignore the Instagram page. If you really want to understand a fashion brand, you need to look at the people wearing it in real life. This is especially true of Craig Green: once you begin to notice men wearing his clothes, it suddenly seems like they’re everywhere. And it’s not just young and waifish men wearing them – they’re worn by older guys, larger guys, straight guys and people who aren’t interested in runway shows. This shouldn’t be rare for a high fashion brand, but it is.
Off the back of his S/S19 show at Pitti Uomo, that was styled by Dazed’s Creative Director Robbie Spencer, we asked six men of different backgrounds, builds, and body types to explain the brand’s appeal.
Jacob Gallagher, 26, Men’s Fashion Editor, The Wall Street Journal
“The first thing I bought from Craig Green was a cornflower-blue workwear jacket, which I had written about for The Wall Street Journal. A couple of weeks later, my father – who is 59 – saw the jacket in the paper and bought the same one. So we both own it. I can’t think of many designers whose clothes are equally appealing to a 26-year-old and a 59-year-old.
“I’ve never actually been to a Craig Green runway show, as I don’t cover London Fashion Week, and I’ve only ever experienced his clothes on a computer screen, or in a store. But Craig, to me, embodies what a successful fashion brand is. He has this remarkable understanding of what the runway is for, but he balances that by the fact that his clothing – what’s sold in the stores, and what I wear – is utterly pragmatic and utterly thoughtful. It really considers what the wearer will be doing in the clothing. There’s something generous about that.”
John Booth, 33, artist
“I know Craig from college. He was in the year below me at Central Saint Martins, doing fashion design and print. I’ve always kept track of what he was doing after we graduated – I think you always do, when it’s someone you came up with. I felt quite early on that he was onto something – I remember seeing a black calico t-shirt in his very first collection, and really wanting it, though I couldn’t afford it then.
“He really understands what men want: we’re happy to wear a bit of colour, or a bit of print, but we don’t want to wear anything fussy. He knows when to keep it simple”
“Quite early on, we came to an arrangement where I’d make him a drawing or a ceramic work for every collection, and he’d give me a piece of clothing. So I’ve created a piece of work based on pretty much every collection he’s done. I’m quite excited about it as a body of work: imagine what it could look like in ten years’ time.
“What he does is different. His fits are much more forgiving, and he really understands what men want: we’re happy to wear a bit of colour, or a bit of print, but we don’t want to wear anything fussy. He knows when to keep it simple.”
Jos Gibson, 41, hairstylist and Micka Agosta, 33, costume designer
Jos: “My boyfriend Micka and I have a similar body shape: we’re a little bit shorter, and a little bit larger. So we find a lot of fashion really restrictive. I’d first come across Craig socially: I used to run a club night at Vogue Fabrics, and used to see him there. When he did his first MAN show, the one with the wooden structures, he asked for some help with the hair. I was working for Vidal Sassoon at the time, and ended up helping. And I got really into his clothes: they felt like the workwear I had always worn, but with just enough of a fashion element to them. By the time he did the tie-dye collection, I was really switched onto it.”
Micka: “I bought Jos one of the tie-dye jackets for his birthday. I think that’s the earliest piece we have.”
“I wear it almost every day. It just works for my body: it straddles that line between being structured but not too tailored”
Jos: “We get something every season now – we buy it together, and we share it. So I think we must have about 25 of the jackets now. And loads of the tops. I wear it almost every day. It just works for my body: it straddles that line between being structured but not too tailored.”
Micka: “Coming from a costume background, I can see all of the influences that he’s drawing from: the early stuff was very Japanese, but since then you can see elements of Islamic art, tiling, and a lot of stuff that actually looks quite medieval in its shape. There’s so much history in what he does, but it’s reinterpreted and deconstructed. And it takes itself seriously, but not too seriously: it wears its references lightly. And there’s a bit of sex in there, too! I mean, I read the show notes, and they are always talking about bondage and restraint [laughs].”
Richard Gray, 46, Senior Editor, 10 Magazine & 10 Men
“I think I’ve been to every one of his shows. People had started to talk about him, even after his MA show – there was a rumbling undercurrent which made my ears prick up. I suppose it’s the fashion jungle drum. So I thought I ought to see it.
“His work is valid, because you actually see it on people’s backs”
“I think the first thing I bought was one of the judo-suit inspired coats – and then I got the matching jacket, and then the matching trousers. I got a few wolf whistles wearing it all together – and I was absolutely boiling – but I’m so enamoured of him that I didn’t care.
“What speaks to me about his clothes is no matter how fancy the fabrics can be, and how innovative he is, it all comes down to workwear. That’s why it speaks to so many men: it’s the simplicity of what he does. It means it works on all ages, all sizes, even if you don’t care about what magazines tell you to wear. His work is valid, because you actually see it on people’s backs.”
Lewis Gilbert, 29, Project Coordinator at Frieze
“My first piece of Craig Green was a pair of black wide-leg trousers. I have quite a regimented wardrobe, and I don’t spend that much money on clothes – I’m not the kind of guy who goes to Dover Street Market every weekend. My parents always instilled in me that I should only spend money on things that will last. But I think that’s what Craig Green’s stuff is: he creates things that you can keep. I don’t think there are many other designers that you can say that about.
“He creates things that you can keep. I don’t think there are many other designers that you can say that about”
“I’ve ended up buying quite a lot of pairs of the same black trousers from him. Finding a good pair of wide-leg trousers is hard; there’s not many places that do them well. But Craig’s fit well on the body, and they’re not showy. They are just nice to wear. When you wear them you just feel like you’re wearing good clothes.”