Challenges are nothing to shy away from for Samuel Ross’ steely and sophisticated brand A-Cold-Wall* — they are merely occasions to rise to. Being one of the only established Black designers on the Milan Fashion Week calendar, it’s another pit-stop to dominating the international fashion landscape. The SS21 collection “My Brother’s Keeper” is a captivating homage to the ways in which the pandemic has treated us as a community and how we now approach this new way of working and living.
Although still in its infancy (A-C-W* was launched back in 2015) Ross has taken the brand to a certain level that traditional luxury brands have attempted to rise to in recent years. There’s a real focus on highly-functional, wearable pieces that are simple yet stylish, minimal but distinctive. The 29-year-old Brixton-born visionary is no stranger to transgressing boundaries and doing the unexpected. A-C-W* takes conservative designs and reimagines them using artistic shapes and utilitarian fabrics to paint the picture of social evolution — he shatters the stereotype of blue-collar attire and instead, offers opulent understatement.
Shown as part of a digital presentation, with an accompanying poem by Wilson Oryema, the collection is split into a three-part film. It’s a visual feast, directed by Pierre Debusschere and styled by Robbie Spencer , chronicling the last seven months: lockdown, reemerging from lockdown and preparation for a mysterious future. It’s a synthy, technical and dreamlike confection of restructured suit tailoring, padded hunting vests, sweaters, ruched bomber jackets and caps, all featured in moody tones.
Textured trenches in grey and ochre are the coat for the work-day; acid-wash denim jackets, layered over light knits and shirts for a casual evening; and military-style jackets for the war against Corona. A-C-W* SS21 wouldn’t be complete without the accessories. There are architecturally designed sunglasses in collaboration with RETROSUPERFUTURE, large, rectangular pendants on chained necklaces and a selection of asymmetric envelope bags, totes and cross-body pouches. It’s the modern man, reimagined for the new, unexpected future.
Images Courtesy of Vogue Runway