Back in June, we shone a light on Charlie McCosker, one of this year's Central Saint Martins BA fashion design graduates who first caught our eye back in 2018, and proved to be an undeniable standout at the school's final year runway show. Hailed as 'future-shocking', their collection 'RTRN' was inspired by yearnings for sweaty dance-floors and forest raves in lockdown and was shortlisted out of hundreds of submissions to our Class of 2021 project by Nick Knight and Adam Andrascik. Prior to this, their work had already been worn by Jorja Smith, and been featured in numerous publications including American Vogue and Vogue Italia. This Friday 13 August, they'll be exhibiting their studio and creative practice, making pieces from their 'Sun Damage' collection as part of the Great Conversations exhibition with Goat Magazine at The Koppel Project, Holborn.
'The event has been a long time in the making. I began my collaboration with Goat Magazine pre the COVID-19 pandemic and then designed, developed and shot the project in lockdown phase one from my childhood village in Dorset. The project began as a response to the speed of production in the fashion industry and the lack of care and thought into the impact of mass overconsumption. How if we refuse to listen to the planet and don’t wake up to the irreversible changes we will have to dress for protection rather than joy. I began to build looks using second-hand garments and waste fabrics pushing the human form through layers and layers of clothes. The pandemic made it impossible to develop it into a full collection so I focused on head pieces specifically caps. Hats worn as hair became the concept for protection against the sun which will become our biggest threat to humankind.'
Everything in the collection, including the ‘Silk Scarf Ponytail’ hat, is made from waste products and funds raised will go towards supporting artists the South African native worked with in Cape Town during a recent trip in preparation for their graduate collection.
'Lucy brought me into her home and showed me her incredible creations of rugs and hats made from crocheted plastic and Sizwe taught me the art of printing with grasses and leaves from his studio in Newlands. I met photographers, sculptors and weave artists and became longtime collaborator with Tinashe, a bead artist in Cape Town,' McCosker says. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the taxi violence war, Cape Town is a challenging space for artists to create in to say the least. 'As the pandemic took hold and the tourists left Cape Town, business became really bad for artists that rely on tourism to sell their pieces. I have been working with Tinashe via WhatsApp all the way through the pandemic as I created my final collection 'RTRN'. Recently as well in Cape Town serious violence between rival taxi companies that many people use to commute to jobs in the city meant it was too dangerous to get to work,' they go on to explain.
Taking over the exhibition on Friday night from 7pm, McCosker will then hand over to jewellery designer Matilda Little on Saturday, with music from Rhythm and Frames on Sunday 16 August.