Mark Tan’s starting point for his autumn/winter 2017 collection were the captivating and piercing photos by Lewis Hine of immigrant working class men, women and children in the 1900s. The photos show outcasts of society who worked hard manual labour in weave factories, steel mines and on the streets and who did not think much of their attire.
“I found this interesting in my research for shape and details, drawing inspiration from the badly fitted clothes they wore which were generally hand-me-downs from their siblings or parents…” explains Tan. He drew inspiration from this type of fitting: “Silhouettes are generally slim across the shoulder and boxy shaped. I also used some apron silhouettes and workwear details such as pockets, stitches, long collars and big sleeves and fabric finishes that have a dirty almost greasy and waxed look.”
The combination of the working class details and silhouettes, and Tan’s renown appreciation for stand-out fabrics, creates a refreshing take on fashion’s current obsession with all things workwear.
This season features lush fabrics and prints, many of which were made in Italy, and created in a new exciting partnership with textile designer Helene Blanche, an established force in the interiors market. They both share a fascination for the merging of fashion, interiors, architecture and art. This attraction led the two of them to spend endless hours in the basement of the Danish Design Museum looking at archive wallpapers from 1890-1930 in bold colour stories. Helene Blanche says: “Pretty colours are not always attractive or interesting where as awkward colours and mistakes can allow room for curiosity and imagination.”.