3.5 million pounds. Designer Samuel Ross is not too shy to say that's how MUCH A-COLD-WALL* sold in menswear last season. But why would he be? It's an impressively farcical figure considering that Ross only founded the brand in 2015. For those yet to see the justification, this collection is for you. S/S 19 cemented Ross's uncanny ability to appeal to a hugely broad range of consumer. It was luxury and casual, it was art and architecture, it was a step away from sportswear, but a step further into high-end luxury. There can be no doubt that this show was an elevation. ‘I felt quite free with this collection. I could really push out more articulate ideas. It also felt like I’m no longer trying to describe specific pressures... it’s more aspirational.’ Says Ross.
Onlookers were given a mask, protective glasses and earplugs - all logo’d of course - as they arrived at the Truman Brewery’s exposed beam and chalky floored room, models came framed in large cubed shapes with grey, clay-like bodyguards, pockets were inflatable, looped or netted, and caps and clutches were sculpturally curved or sharply edged. One thought of the soft silhouette of a buildings edge or the sliver of space between two detached homes. Ross’ architectural obsession was inescapable. 'Human structure and form and architecture - it’s about how those are all so synonymous and so interlinked.'
Drawstrings, metals, slightly elongated eyelets - raw, industrial aspects - were smoothed and polished with buttery leathers and deep, luxurious oxblood and dark teal shades (all hand-dyed in-house.) Towards the end of the show, a large styrofoam box was broken down to reveal a red, bloodied, naked man. 'The cube represents the conflicts of structure, tearing the walls down, a story of intelligence.' says Ross. 'I wanted to echo the energy of these structures through the models.' This altered perception entirely. 'Human. Form. Structure' now felt much more science fiction. The multiple zips and sheeny grey's felt as though practical wear for those within Prometheus or 2001: Space Odyssey. One thought of the dark, cobbled planets of Ridley Scott and the monolithic moments of Kubrick. The clay-clad individuals and nude red character felt almost alien. Ross said backstage; 'I’m more interested in making clothes for the future than focusing on where I’ve come from and the past.'
But aside from his immense design, and smart entry-level items, Ross’ earnest attitude is one of his many selling points. Many outside the world of fashion relate to Ross and love his design because, in part, of his past. 'I am the only one who can tell this working-class story, it’s my responsibility. It is my job to do that, not just sell people clothes', muses Ross. But that’s the brilliance of A-COLD-WALL*, whether you buy the tiny clip-on bag, or splurge on that brilliant, tailored grey suit, you’re enveloped into the story and enlisted into the crew.