A classic red bus stop surrounded by two male friends hanging out is displayed and greets the audience with a habitual sight of youthfulness fitted in sporty attire. The scene is set in Central London, inside the new BFC NewGen TikTok Space, where Saul Nash debuts his solo catwalk show after two years developing his craft as part of the Fashion East collective. The collection, entitled ‘Fragments’, was a much-appreciated return to IRL catwalks following more than a year of social restrictions that saw many designers, Nash included, who visualised their collection launches via fashion films and online-only presentations.
Boasting 14 male looks plus his first female look – modelled by best friend Tolu – Nash presents cohesive, fluid and animating athleisure and casualwear in his most confident collection yet. After the lights turn off and signal the show’s start, a bass-heavy track, composed by South London artist CKTRL, commences and the bus stop site develops into an active performance as models transform zip-up jackets into track trousers. Nash drew once again from his dance background and choreographed the entire show including the performed scene himself, allowing us an authentic view into the designer’s mind.
“So much of my inspiration comes from my teenage years,” Nash reveals. The collection invited the audience into a nostalgic view of Nash’s youth and displayed his reinterpretation of gym uniforms. Nash reminisced about his school experience and attempted to rebuild his slightly diminished memories of that time and reclaim the notion of the school uniform as his own.
Through clever fashion technology, the classic garments are deconstructed and reimagined as smarter pieces. Notably, the distinctive element of Nash’s designs is the functionality of the clothes which includes prioritising adaptability and movement. This advantage is realised by using magnets to morph fabrics, inserting mesh cutaways at the armhole for ventilation, and featuring multi-way zippers and detachable hoods.
A personal favourite look includes a metallic cerulean blue tracksuit fitted with a sheer mesh turtleneck jumper. Once again, pointing out the ingenious design and technology that achieved this highly functional and breathable outfit.
Besides furthering the movability agenda in sportswear, Nash also has a political objective. His reversible nylon cagoules are decorated with warped images of Nash’s childhood travelcard, an invaluable gadget growing up. In light of recent news of the UK government proposing to cut free transport for teenagers in London, the designer highlights a serious threat to the rights and wellbeing of children from low-income families.
The climax scene culminated as all the models assemble in front of the bus stop and move in irregular circles around the last modelled look, a neon-yellow nylon trench-coat fitted with trousers of the same colour and fabric. There’s a structure in the chaos of the last scene possibly alluding to the designer working out the memories of his schoolboy years: “this collection is about piecing them back together, facing the past and, by doing so, being able to move forward,” says Nash. The cluster of models breaks off into a final walk along the catwalk, signifying his forward journey.
Finally, Saul Nash, proud and fitted with a huge smile on his face, skips along the catwalk while the crowd breaks into loud applause cheering on the electrifying designer, his dynamic performance, and innovative designs.
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