With the rest of the world focusing on fast fashion, there are a handful of designers carving their own path. The artist, Greg Lauren is one of them. In a great article by Alex Travers for Fashionista, Lauren discusses his origins, his thought processes and his recent successes as a fashion designer.
Laurent explores the idea that consumers wear clothing without filling the roles that their clothing suggests.
"Right now, however, his main focus is still fashion, but fashion examined through the question: Who do we want to be when we wake up in the morning? That’s what he likes to think about while he’s working. Sometimes when he leaves his studio, he spots men and women on the street wearing rugged motorcycle jackets and wonders if they actually own bikes or are simply playing the role of a free-spirited rebel riding off into the night."
He uses unusual materials, and garments are hand made, and more personal that the rest of the garments we see at Fashion Week. Laurent himself is self taught.
"One day after “Alteration” had opened to the public, Lauren was standing on a piece of paint-splattered drop cloth in his Los Angeles studio and decided to make a wearable jacket out of it. It proved to be harder than he thought. At first the jacket didn't fit, so he had to tear off a sleeve and sew it back on. Even after that it still wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to wear out. “I was so excited about this thing that I had made myself, mistakes and all, that I wore it with the confidence of a fine Savile Row suit.”"
"It was a body of work, “Alteration,” that technically turned him into a fashion designer. In order to make jackets and suits out of Japanese paper, he had to learn how to sew and cut basic patterns. “I hand-sewed approximately 50 of the most iconic menswear garments that I was taught were the foundation of any man’s wardrobe,” he says. He did this for two reasons: “to celebrate them and to say goodbye to them.” In pictures, the pieces looked like structured toiles of garments you’d maybe find at a tailor’s shop."
The hand made nature of the garments and his choice of materials mean that garments are always limited run. This is a point of pride for Laurent.
"After he says this, he changes the topic to production, enthusing that each one of his garments are made, one at a time, in a small studio in Los Angeles. Nothing, he says, is factory-made. Only a few knitted pieces are crafted outside his studio."
"He’ll usually make three to 50 pieces of each look. “Forty would be a successful style for us,” he tells me. “Right now, even in this limited way, we’re doing 1,500 to 2,000 pieces a season.”"
It is great to see designers taking a different approach to fashion. Whilst it might not change the way the entire industry runs, it stimulates the right conversations and could lead to real changes in the future.