‘Tina Turn-Around’ and ‘I am not Sochi’ frame NewGen newcomer Alex Mullins‘s SS15 collection, who’s also known as “cowboy-mad Mullins“. With Americana Malibu gangs being his main concept for this season, we talked with Alex about gangs, politics, and ‘fashion design method acting’.

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Is this collection for London gangs, who are fighting their own war?

It’s not really about gangs in a violent way, just gangs and groups of people sharing a view, style or heritage and their personal outlook on the world.

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What causes do you think London gangs would be fighting for?

Anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and anti-violence.

2014_alexmullins_1granary_centralsaintmartins_rca (8)What was happening in world news when you first got the ‘gangs’ idea?

There is current news, but there are always the same age-old problems. The problems are the things that need to change.

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You integrated “I’m not Sochi” in your patchworks. What’s the thought behind it?

I believe that my work should act like a tapestry. I can tell you who this gang is and what they do, but it’s up to your own imagination to decide on their views. I have my own views which echo throughout my work, with the aim to say what I want to say, through ones own perception.

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Do you put current affairs into perspective within your work, or would you like to keep a distance from politics?

I have my messages, and I have something to say, but I think these messages are something that should be said in silence.

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 One of the main functions of art is to present a point of view, or spark a debate about the state the world is in. How informed do you think a fashion designer’s work should be in terms of what’s happening globally?

Every person, and designer, is different.  Everything I do is a reaction to a thought or a feeling that I have–Something that makes my body tense up, something that I have to respond to, or something that makes me excited. For me, this connection is really important, as if you don’t have something to say, then what’s the point? I choose to speak through my work, actions and decisions. I don’t think I’m here to change people’s minds, but I do want to share how I feel in the hope that this strikes a chord with whoever is looking.

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 What are your favourite gang movie?

“The Warriors” (1979) and “Clueless” (1995).

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 With NEWGEN knocking on the door, what has changed most since we last spoke in February 2014?

My outlook on me and my brand, and what I want to achieve in the future.

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In the past you’ve said your inspirations are ‘Americana’ and ‘Malibu’, how did you originally want to blend these ideas?

I set out to create a collection that felt like time had passed, and times had changed through each garment. Setting the scene in a dusty trailer park allowed me to create a setting for the evolution of the clothes. Each wearer reinterpreting each piece through the generations of hand-me-downs, with added layers of customization and feeling. The history of modern and ancient America as a country, allows me to go back and forth through time, creating a melting pot of ethnicities, cultural references, and narratives.

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Your collections usually have a distinct story line, something which I think you were taught intensely at the Royal College of ArtHow do you feel about the idea of ‘method acting’ as a designer, as in really trying to become the ‘character’ you’re trying to make?

Each season I try a bit of doing method acting for that collection—for me, I really need to become deeply connected to the characters and pieces I create to allow me to understand the clothes and how they sit within the ‘real world’. Sometimes this is just mentally, but quite often, it means playing with the way I actually wear my own clothes, and analyzing what I’m comfortable with and what excites me to wear. In the future, I really wish I could do quite extreme method acting for my collections, by literally stepping inside the narratives I’m creating.

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Grilling T-bone steaks on a BBQ inside your studio, to be a real bad-ass Americana gang member? 

I would be totally up for it!!! But would love to push it even further than just being a cowboy eating steak in the studio,as I already do that anyways.

 

“The women were wearing fur and cowboy boots. Everyone had cowboy boots…” Read our previous interview with Alex.

Lookbook photography by Baker & Evans

Presentation photography by Rory DCS + Suleyman Karaaslan

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