Like Pharrell Williams and Nicola Formichetti before him, Joseph Standish has a thing for denim. While Williams signed his name over to co-ownership of G-Star Raw back in February – and Formichetti took on the creative director role at denim powerhouse Diesel in April 2013 – the London College of Fashion BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development (almost) graduate has adopted the iconic fabric for his final year collection.
Inspired, he tells Clash, by “a bunch of honest men,” the collection is part comprised of patchwork denim, shredded and overlain with DIY-alike patches, as elsewhere large stretches of bright orange contribute to the rough aesthetic.
“Creating characters that I felt were more real: drinking beer, eating takeaways and bad tattoos feel more humanised to me than a multi-coloured dress – it’s more encompassing,” he further notes of his influences, riffing on a notion not dissimilar from Liam Hodges circa SS14 (“It’s for people who live for the week, not the weekend – by which we mean you don’t have to drive Volvo’s,” spelt out Hodges’ debut press release), an attitude that complies with the Wolverhampton native.
“If I could do more I’d create everyone,” Standish continues with a nod to the hand drawn characters seen both above and across his Instagram account, “I think people are so interesting, and that’s why I wanted to create people.” Clearly his interpretation of fashion goes beyond the commercial – a characteristic keenly assumed by the bulk of denim heavyweights – focusing instead on the personal.
Quizzed on his cloth choice, he talks of the allure of the worn garment, the appeal of not being boxfresh: “Seeing an old boy who has had the same jacket for 50 years is amazing,” he asserts. “I’m fascinated by how garments can be changed by their wearer; denim is really amazing for this. It’s not the most eco-friendly fabric out there, though, but there’s a lot of companies doing cool things to improve it.”
Here he namedrops G-Star’s RAW For The Oceans project (Pharrell’s initial in), as well as the Swedish brand Nudie, whose in-store repair station likewise impresses with green credentials.
“I think if people had a stronger symbiotic relationship with garments it would change the way people related to fashion and would create a more sustainable and honest reaction to fast fashion,” he observes with a refreshing take on the industry and consumerism.
Presenting his work as part of LCF’s BA16 season, next week his designs will be streamed live as The Last Honest Man takes its place alongside 14 others from the college’s fashion courses (menswear, womenswear, sportswear, contour, accessories and jewellery all in).
Standish’s end goal? A chance to develop his ideas even further, with the creation of bigger and bolder pieces… and the opportunity to trawl through a denim company’s archive. Naturally.
Words: Zoe Whitfield
Photographer: James Rees
Creative Direction: Rob Phillips
Hair: Ezana Ové
Beauty: Kirsty Gaston
London College of Fashion presents BA16 on Monday 6th June; you can watch it live here from 7pm.