London has long been seen as the forward-thinking capital of fashion. Birthing designers like the late, great Vivienne Westwood & Alexander McQueen, and some that emerged in more recent years such as Bianca Saunders and Grace Wales Bonner; it’s fair to say that this city has always had a good vision of what the future of fashion could look like.
This vision is something that designer and Central Saint Martins alum Stanley Bryan expresses through his work, aiming to create what he calls a futuristic utopia.
Watch our short film below featuring some of Stanley’s pieces, and read more about his journey as a designer below:
“Putting together my graduate collection, I thought about what it would look like to create my own world. I thought, if I was creating an image of this world, what would the buildings look like, what would the people be like? What would they wear?” Scroll through Stanley’s website and you’ll see this utopia come to life. His pieces are inspired by modern technology and architecture, created with digital machinery and infused with emblems of his Jamaican heritage, paying homage to those who’ve gone before him, with the hopes of building on their stories.
“I started by looking through old family photos, then looking at reggae artists and architectural spaces”, he says.
“It was about experimenting with different ways to bring that research into the clothes. So it might be an image I have, and it could inspire the shape of a jacket; or I might be inspired by a texture of a fabric that I could use. I was working on it for a few months, but I spent a good chunk of that in experimentation and trying different stuff before I actually started making the collection”, he adds.
When we speak, it’s been two months since the collection was made public at the annual CSM fashion graduate showcase, where it was hard to miss Stanley’s trio of motherland inspired garments. He explains that seeing his pieces on the runway gave him a moment of relief, after months of hard work in anticipation of the show:
“It was a good feeling, because as much as you try, you can never really imagine how it’s gonna turn out or if it’s gonna be what you planned, but it did and said exactly what I wanted it to, so I was happy.”
He explains that he wanted people to see his collection, and see his culture represented, but, he continues, this is second nature to his practice.
“I feel like it’s something that I just do in life anyway- it’s how I’m able to see myself in my work. Especially now, it’s important for me, because there’s not a huge amount of people telling stories from this point of view, or about people from my background, so it’s important to have different voices in the conversation.”
When we meet again, Stanley is in the process of creating his own brand, pulling from his time and experience at CSM, and time he spent working in industry at brands Craig Green and Charles Jeffrey. It was at Charles Jeffrey that Stanley learnt how to 3D print, which became a key part of his collection.
“When I was interning, there was a guy in the studio a few doors down from us, and I saw that he had a 3D printer, so I went in, asked about it, and he showed me the basics of how to get started. I got to do a bit of sewing, and even work on a print that they used in their collection. Then at Craig Green, I learnt a lot about how to run a business, and using different techniques and fabrics to inform your designs.”
At the heart of Stanley’s practice is experimentation. “I started customising and altering pieces from young, when my mum showed me how to work a sewing machine. I like to try stuff that’s gonna be new or different, and in order to do that, you’ve got to try stuff that might not work, he says.
“Especially when you’re at CSM, you’re there to learn, you’re there to make mistakes, so I might as well try and fail, and keep trying.”
While trying might be essential to his design process, failing clearly isn’t. His pieces have been seen on the likes of rising stars like Kali Uchis and Deyaz, and we’re confident that we’ll be seeing more of them this year.