Style & Grooming

Jeremy Corbyn Becomes an Unlikely Fashion Week Inspiration

For her S/S18 collection, Martine Rose gets inspired by the leader of the Labour Party and “outdoorsy types”

  • TextHynam Kendall
  • PhotographyRachel Lamb

“I’m chewing my fucking nails down to the knuckle today, man. Come on Jezza [Corbyn]! Come on The Outsider!” says Martine Rose in a thick London drawl, on the day of the General Election. “I think you should always back the outsider, you know what I mean?”

Corbyn would eventually lead his party to top 40% of the vote resulting in a hung parliament, seen by many as a victory. Days later at her North London Climbing Centre-housed S/S18 show, Rose beams and refers to this season’s moodboard which, alongside images of “outdoorsy types” from sports subcultures in 80s Toronto, was peppered with images of the leader of the Labour Party in off-duty attire. “I mean literally, bless his heart,” she says.

Rose, by her own admission, loves it when something is slightly off and has often demonstrated this through garments in varying states of destruction. “I’ve never really fitted in, I’ve never really been comfortable with the idea of fitting in,” she says, “I think the best results happen when things clash.” Rose’s current fascination is with ill-fitting suiting. “I mean, like, bad, like really badly fitting suits,” she laughs. Her S/S18 suiting bares shoulders that jut far away from the body, shorts that hang long and loose, and slacks pulled high with maybe one too many breaks in each leg. “It’s awkward, right?” Rose says with glee.

These looks permeate a sense of rebellion – a uniform that literally does not fit. “The best way to describe what I’m feeling right now is what the [Labour party political] slogan said: For the many not the few,” Rose says. “Tailoring comes with connotations that other [clothing] doesn’t... aspiration… the class system… I’m not interested in being the next Savile Row tailor, I’m interested in what tailoring can be. Tailoring is a whole world itself, people have a relationship with it – with the idea of it. You know for a lot of people tailoring felt aspirational and out of reach. I’m challenging that. I’m making it new. Now being ‘off’, being ‘ugly’ is one of the only ways to express yourself in a new way!”