“I knew it was a brand which had youth and rebellion at its core. I now know it’s a brand with youth and rebellion in its DNA,” Matthew Miller tells Clash.
The London based, Stoke-on-Trent born menswear designer has worked with Ben Sherman – the label he describes above – on a capsule collection called ‘Disaffected Generation since Forever’, set for release as part of the heritage brand’s Spring Summer 14 offering.
Comprised of just six pieces, the collection is petite but focused. Its most prominent design feature can be attributed to the Ben Sherman house check, which Miller has enlarged and smothered across tees, shirts and a jacket; the colour palette throughout is refined – much like Miller’s most recent mainline efforts – using only white, blue and red.
Selecting the simple white T-shirt as his most favoured piece – adorned solely with the Disaffected Generation emblem – Matthew suggests the single difference between prepping for a full collection of his own name and designing a capsule range with another brand was the number of people involved. “That’s about it really,” he adds, casually.
With several collaborations clocked so far – primarily with shoe brands including Grenson and Oliver Sweeney – he decides that this preference for sharing ideas is because he enjoys working with others. “Learning something new, trying something different and seeing something from a new perspective. It’s an incredibly enlightening experience. And a free education; that’s a real luxury today.”
As with much of his work, the collection goes beyond six nice new tops, instead providing a platform for the designer’s exploration, in this case looking at identities formed via ‘rebellion and the pressure to conform’. In the case of said six new tops, this translates as something both quite divergent but also incredibly normal within the realms of the Ben Sherman label.
“Aggy clothes, with a sense of attitude,” asserts Miller of the two labels crossover values. It’s an apt definition, given one’s history within subcultures and the other’s emphasis on giving classic ideas a modern makeover.
With the collaboration launching within the next month, the label’s next area of investment is a new website and the first steps into independent ecommerce, following a path laid by Miller’s contemporaries Kit Neale and Marques ’ Almeida.
“The store will be my world,” he reckons. “It will be a platform where the people I work with on a day-to-day basis will have a platform to create, free from content control. I have creative direction over every aspect, from graphics to navigation to packaging and sensory concept development.”
The high importance of such a space follows on the aforementioned theme of sharing, though not in the collaborative way seen above. Instead it is “ a way of people being allowed to come in to a world that is mine, and mine alone. It’s a destination to not just see 12 pieces of the collection, but the full collection and the complete timeline of that collection.”
A digital show and tell if you like, with the audience’s participation in clicks (and hopefully sales), the site launches in June, just in time for London Collections: Men Spring Summer 15.
Words: Zoe Whitfield