MEN FASHION • RCA Graduate Interviews: Alexander Lamb, Menswear MA, Fashion Wheels and utilitarian influences
Alexander Lamb, born in Lancaster, England in 1986 spent his childhood by the sea experimenting with iconic 1980s toy the Fashion Wheel. This rotating template of fashion trends, which could be styled and designed with the twist of a wheel, was a popular kids toy in the glam ‘80s. A bit like Russian Roulette really, only with colouring in pencils rather than bullets but with the same thrill of dangerous potential - major fashion crimes could potentially be just a spin away.
Alexander, who has won many awards, most recently the ASOS Award for the most Creative Collection at the RCA Show Fashion 2012, clearly knows how to create a winning look. He was also selected as a finalist for designing the costumes for the London Olympic Games 2012.
Can you tell us a bit about your graduate collection?
The collection was inspired by world war two archival uniforms and 1950’s new look couture. The idea is creating a new uniform for men and embracing this idea we all talk about: pushing the boundaries within menswear. looking at silhouettes that we’ve missed out on from the cristobal balenciaga days, whilst keeping a utilitarian and military handwriting. The garments have a hardwearing utility wear look constructed considering traditional craft and couture techniques. There are Internal details in the garments that help create shape and volume. The man becomes the pedestal for sculptural form as leather ware in the forms of harnesses and belts constrain the silhouette and volume at new proportions on the male body. The silhouettes have fluid flowing forms that rest on a structure of leather harnesses against the male body so you feel connected to the shape.
Why did you decide to study at the RCA?
I wanted to develop myself as a designer and gain some more creative freedom before i went into the industry and the RCA helps you to create your own identity within a specialism of your choice. The Menswear MA is renowned for its course and the students that have studied there, i have followed the careers of certain students after they have left RCA and i wanted to in the further follow on from this.
What is your most memorable experience at the RCA?
I was backstage at our final show and was sending the collection down the catwalk and i ran out the side of the wings to watch everyones reaction and to see it for myself with the music and models, It was amazing experience to see all the work.
Fashion every year holds a welcome fancy dress party for the first years and to introduce the lecturer's and students to one another. Our theme was Strictly come X-Factor yet it has become a tradition that menswear always dress up yet other courses don't join in. It has become a running joke on the 1st menswear it's as if we didn't get the memo that its not cool to dress up so we all turned up in drag and full costume to parade and act in front of the judges to perform (I say judges yet it was the likes of OBE Wendy Dagworthy, Ike Rust and James Long acting as the X-factor judges as we performed- Embarrassing). It broke the ice and we showed the rest how its done and we then dressed in fancy dress for all party's.
How did you celebrate finishing the degree?
By resting a lot after the build up and hard work that went into the show, but also having a big celebratory drink with the rest of Menswear and Womenswear. After our Convocation we had a party with the Lecturer's and Heads of Fashion and Textiles up on the RCA terrace in the sun.
How do you feel now that you have completed the degree?
Positive in the sense i can start build a career around the subject i have been studying for years. Im excited to see the outcome of where i will be in the next few years. In the studio the Menswear class of 2012 had built up a strong friendship with one and other and we would always go to lunch and dinner with each other so its sad to not have them around you after been in the studio with them from 7 days a week, 8 in the morning till the security kick us out at 1 in the morning and some times later.
And now for that dreaded question… what are your hopes and plans for the future?
I hope in the coming years ill be working in the industry learning about how the industry works and the calendars it runs on, eventually i want to begin my own label but only once i have have the correct meetings and business mind in place to know how i could commit and run the company successfully. I have had certain offers for work and i am considering the best option of which will be the most interesting Job role.
What is your favourite place in London? Anywhere you find particularly inspiring?
The Imperial War museum, i spend hours in there looking at all the details and functionality on the clothing. I like to look into their Archives to find interesting and unseen artefacts to inspire my designs.
ALEXANDER LAMB, Menswear MA
10 RCA Graduate Interviews 2012
Carlo Volpi , Menswear MA
Trine Hav Christensen, Womenswear MA
Fatma Bucak, Photography MA
Daniel Pollitt, Menswear MA
Alexander Lamb , Menswear MA
Isabelle Held, History of Design MA
Simon Foxall, Painting MA
Nathan Tom Pass, Textile MA
Hal Watts, Innovation Design Engineering MA
Michael Warren, Product Design MA