Samuel Ross, British Fashion Hero, Talks Virgil, Dr. Martens & Brutalism


Samuel Ross31, is one of the most inspirational designers in fashion today—a multidisciplinary artist who has continuously straddled the worlds of art, style and architecture since launching his A-COLD-WALL* brand back in 2015, which has gone on to become one the most desired clothing brands in the world.

In 2020, the London-born, Northamptonshire-raised creative launched the Black British Artists Grant programme, which seeks to combat the lack of Black designers, artists, photographers and architects in the UK year on year. Ross’ aim? To open doors for the next gen of creatives to have a seat at the table. The Hublot Design Prize and British Fashion Award winner—and LVMH Prize and ANDAM Award finalist—was a mere novice when he was appointed as the late, great Virgil Abloh’s first design assistant in 2010 (the pair worked on Pyrex Vision and the launch of Off-White™), but Ross has since been hailed for his brutalism-inspired approach with A-COLD-WALL*, and with collab projects—ranging from disruptive Converse Aeon Active CX sneakers to moulding sculptures for Concrete Objects.

ACW*’s latest link-up with Dr. Martens is all about overlooked workwear combined with subcultural influences. Ross and his continued commentary on the UK’s cultural zeitgeist gets more pertinent with every season, and this two-part release is no different. Building on ACW* and Dr. Martens’ on-going partnership, which started in 2020, the new footwear offering utilises both light and shade to create minimalist interpretations of the 1461 shoe and 1460 boot. Highlighted by a branded zip fastening in replacement of Dr. Martens’ typical lacing system, Ross continues to further ACW*’s signature look with a clean, monochrome colour palette and a towering, double-height Bex sole.

We caught up with Samuel Ross and Dr. Martens’ new creative director, Darren McKoy, to find out more about the pair’s long-standing relationship, finding inspiration in brutalism, Virgil’s lasting impact on Ross, and the future of footwear.

“Virgil started off as my boss and it was an honour to work with an older creative who, at that point, was ready to twist the industry model.”


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