Noughties love and her signature sketchy style, Claire Barrow remains current darling of London womenswear.
Do It Yourself
Since her first show under the protective wing of Fashion East in 2012, Claire Barrow has become a real fashion heart-throb – and rightly so. Her pieces are some of the most instantly recognisable – not simply because of her hand painted visions of distorted landscapes, twisted faces and cutsie cats scattered across every garment – but because of her unique approach to garment construction. Everything feels intentionally DIY, like a celebration of the imperfect – fraying edges, laxly layered frills, off centre lines. And this SS16 felt true to form – with Barrow’s subject matter of dystopian post-tech youth creating not only beautiful garments, but an entire collection which actually engages the viewer both visually and mentally.
Do Androids dream of Instagram?
Mixing fashion, social politic and art, Barrow’s work explored the unimaginable question – what happens when there’s no more tech? When we can’t live a life online? Models sat drearily, swathed between a huge wave of oil-slick black fabric; dull synth sounds played out in the background like a distant steel-works signifying a new, industrial age; the girls and boys clanked plastic hands on homemade instruments – hanging metal disks, half filled glass bottles and huge steel sheets. There was armour-like leathers – in knickers, ass-less chaps and trousers – which laced up at the crotch (harking back to that iconic Xtina: Stripped album cover), roughly hand distressed relaxed fit denim had faint landscape scenes and faces battered into the fabric, and a beautiful baby pink three piece suit was adorned with golds and blacks in a pattern which looked like melting oysters and open mouths. Everything was a vision of dystopia – with scenes playing out upon the pieces depicting smudged faces in distress and bleak landscapes in toxic waste green. It all felt rather confronting – the designer managed to capture a feeling of real loss and anxiety in a world without the internet – imagine that. The irony, then, that the attendees stood and snapped away – posting to notify their followers of their imminent, unfilterable doom… ace!
Photographer: Thurstan Redding
Words: Tom Rasmussen