Craig Green goes from strength to strength but he does so seemingly without changing or reinventing. His collections are always moving, poetic feats of design - the highs and lows that other designers seem to go through season in, season out, arguably don’t affect Green. He, and his collections, appear stoic, calm and focused - a breath of fresh air. But then that makes sense when you consider that Green’s priorities and interests have been utterly constant - as a young boy he was interested in making things with his hands and craft. He still is today. When interviewed by me for SHOWstudio’s In Fashion series, he once joked that he only did menswear because his hands were too big to do womenswear. That humility and humble spirit is what gives his clothes - his workwear - their magic; they are tender, age-less and, like Green, good. They have a Ruskinian charm - valid, useful things that will stand the test of time. Green moves forward, but his principals stay the same. That’s a rare thing in fashion.
Just weeks before presenting his S/S 17 collection, Green won the prestigious BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund 2016. That £200,000 prize will go a long way to help him grow his business. The frustration one feels with Green is not that his clothes aren’t commercial or viable - despite the hoopla around ‘fence face’ - but that those who would love them maybe don’t get to see them or never stumble across them in a shop. He’s on the fashion map - but one wants his reach to be larger. He was flying flags though, quite literally, this season. Prints and scarves suggested the colours hung and waved by groups, troops and gangs. One thought of masculinity and rites of passage - of teenage extracurricular activities, of expeditions into the country in hooded jackets, of teamwork, of sleeping bags, blankets, tents and bunting. These are all things many men can relate to. They may not relate to all of Green’s pieces - the strappy, back-revealing show pieces will go down well instead with stylists for editorial, and potentially Green’s female customer base - but they can understand his references and what he stands for. That matters in fashion more than ever. New clothes alone are not enough. People want to buy into something tangible - the kind of communities Green was referencing. In a time where everything moves so fast, this collection was a helpful reminder that it’s good to know where your roots are, and what your identity is.