Most people come to the city to forget their past. But for 24-year old CSM graduate and new menswear designer, William Richard Green; a childhood spent in the countryside made an indelible impression on him. Take his graduate collection based on the Rob Zombie film, ‘House of a 1000 Corpses’ which featured a coat made out of rabbit furs (supplied by Hockley) with buttons cast out of their bones. “It was kind of an expensive joke. I come from Worcester and my parents own a farm. But I tend to associate fur with vulgar glamour so I don’t go out of my way to use it.”
Perhaps his upbringing is more reflected in the rugged materials such as denim and wool and sturdy, if subtly reconfigured sportswear shapes that make up his work. His vision combines a masculine utilitarianism with technical innovation, undercut by a dark, perverse sense of humour. Laughs Green, “Well I do draw influence from my friends and they are all perverts basically!”
Following apprenticeships at DavidDavid and Hockley, he also did time on Savile Row and as seems a prerequisite for every promising young designer these days; has designed an outfit for Lady Gaga. His fall 2010 collection takes inspiration from a decidedly more obscure source, John Carpenter’s postapocalyptic film, ‘Escape from LA.’ “That film was tacky but amazing at the same time. The wetsuits worn by the heroes in the film inspired me to work with rubber. I worked with this guy who makes these fetish outfits. We made these real basics like a raglan t-shirt and duffle coat but in these fetish fabrics, and we used the wrong side so that it wasn’t tacky, but chalky.” So enamoured was he with the results, his hotly tipped DJ act (Joe and Will Ask?) got booked to play the sex-and-rubber venue, The Hoist. “I’m glad we did it – it was interesting to check it out. It’s such a specific genre. They were quite excited about having two straight young boys DJ at their club. In a way it was kinda sweet!” It would seem a certain seediness pervades Green’s aesthetic. After all what else to make of a quilted mohair jacket made out of rug that came from a porn shoot. “Well I didn’t have much money this season – so everything was collected or found which fits in with the aesthetic of the movie because these were gangs who pick up rubbish to make their outfits.”It’s no surprise that he cites the Belgian fetishist Walter Van Beirondonck as well as the bondage loving Vivienne Westwood as designers he admires.
The coolly sinister, monochromatic gang of toughs in the Fall collection continues to explore his fascination with subcultures. “I do love where people stick together in groups and be different from everyone else. I think London is cool for that. My work always ends up looking like a gang. Those movies like Mad Max had a strong influence on me.”
Dazed Digital exclusively premiere the full length video for the collection directed by up-and-coming filmmaker, Zaiba Jabbar (who won the prestigious 2010 A Shaded View On Fashion Film/ Vogue Italia Award along with Miho Kinamura). Says Jabbar, "I was especially interested in exploiting the grungy ideas of the collection through the use of negative space and light which infected the clothes. The rubber jacket absorbed the pin prick lights beautifully and I loved the idea of a floating illuminated moving silhouette highlighting the shapes and details of the clothes. I wanted to echo the heroic and anti-heroic ideas of the collection by creating a tectonic and mysterious mood for the film."
For Spring/Summer ’11 sees Green looking to more offbeat sources. “I can’t really sleep at night because of my hours DJ-ing and so I really got into this late-night reality TV programme called ‘The Deadliest Catch’ about Alaskan fishermen - they were these really burly Hell’s Angels types who would wear heavy duty oilskins and go diving. I thought it would be fun to do a Spring/Summer collection based on that. I have this fantasy of doing short shorts and wellies.”
Photography by Christina Smith, Styling by Paul Joyce, Make up and Hair by Anna Inglishall Model Mark Stanworth at NEVS.
All clothes by William Richard Green AW10 available at MACHINE-A. Film by Zaiba Jabbar Produced by Zaiba Jabbar and William Richard Green Model Thomas Ashley Music Joe and Will Ask? - 'Rivet Gun'