By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Virginie Khateeb
Styling by
Gaelle Bon

Models: Lalani Ali at Viva Model Management and Rose Valentine at Oui Management. Hair by Laurence Walker. Makeup by Anna Sadamori.

SYMONDS PEARMAIN IS PUTTING ART BACK IN FASHION


Fashion has always been an art form, but it can be easy to forget this fact in the face of today’s rampant mass consumerism—which is why Symonds Pearmain is here to remind us. Founded by designer Anthony Symonds and stylist Max Pearmain, the British brand is paving the way for highly conceptual clothing, fusing the worlds of art and fashion. “We both studied at the Slade [School of Fine Art in London],” they say, “so having a fine art background inevitably informs the way we approach this project. It’s a language that feels natural and relevant to us. With Symonds Pearmain, the theoretical discourse is as important as the physical output.”

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This intellectualism was clear from the brand’s début runway show for Fall 2018. The collection, entitled ‘Matchy Un-Matchy,’ was prefaced by a work of fiction penned by artist Ed Atkins and the clothes themselves were designed for small-scale production rather than mass manufacturing. The purpose of this approach is not to come across as overly exclusive, but instead to elevate the craft of fashion. For this reason, the rugby jerseys and track pants were at once recognizable, but also unparalleled in terms of their tailoring and construction. Naturally, they matched rather well too.

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“The collection title ‘Matchy Un-Matchy’ was an oblique reference to fashion as a structural form,” Symonds and Pearmain explain, “as a form that has become totally disconnected from process, creativity, and cultural meaning, and therefore reliant on a lazy monoculture of ‘luxury’ and ‘aspiration’ as a substitute for content.” Good content is what this brand strives to produce, then, by bringing together an impressive set of collective skills. Symonds’s design prowess has been honed with design houses like Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano, as well as with his own brand; meanwhile, Pearmain continues to work as a stylist for numerous other brands and has held editor roles with the likes of Pop Magazine and Arena Homme+.

“We work in a classical sense of designer and stylist coming together each season to produce a collection—discussing and producing something that feels relevant within the context of the brand and, in turn, the season,” they say. This sense of relevance is important for the pair, though it is becoming increasingly rare in the context of fashion’s overt commercialism. Luckily, then, this London-based label is all about striking the perfect balance in all areas. Originally sold exclusively by appointment through London’s Cabinet Gallery, they recently launched their own e-commerce site, marking a step towards expansion without diluting their vision. “Fashion is a compelling matrix of newness, commerce, and self-construction,” they say. “Good fashion should address all three.”

For more information, please visit SymondsPearmain.com.

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By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Virginie Khateeb
Styling by
Gaelle Bon

Models: Lalani Ali at Viva Model Management and Rose Valentine at Oui Management. Hair by Laurence Walker. Makeup by Anna Sadamori.

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