Born and raised in London, Craig Green didn’t follow the likes of, say, Alexander McQueen or Phoebe Philo when he first enrolled at Saint Martins as a Fine Art Foundation student. That all changed quickly, though. He soon fell for fashion and decided to pursue BA Fashion Print, so that he could “do painterly things and a bit of fashion” side-by-side. It was a well- reasoned decision.
Following his BA, Green went on to Saint Martins’ famed MA Fashion course, studying Menswear under Louise Wilson, because he thought that his “clumsy, chunky aesthetic” worked better on a man. In school, Green was never the kind of person who was crazily dressed or outspoken. That ethos still applies, despite his career gaining traction after winning his year’s top accolade, the L’Oreal Professional award for his MA line-up. It was a line-up that blended his now idiosyncratic tie-dye prints – with nods to his BA – with elements of sculpture bridging Green’s fashion with his exploration of cultist ideologies. That anarchist energy extends to the way Craig works. “Everything I have seems to be ruined at work by paint and dye.”
While still at Saint Martins, Craig interned with Walter van Beirendonck, Henrik Vibskov and Bernhard Willhelm, before setting up his own studio (his bedroom, as it turns out). “There wasn’t really a choice. I had just graduated and was poorer than I had ever been.” He soon came by the opportunity to show his work under Fashion East though, and also received sponsorship from the CFE Venture Programme, through which he was given the use of a free studio.
His fashion week debut with Autumn/Winter 2013 went down with some notoriety. The Daily Mail featured a headline
that read “What A Plank!” after seeing Green’s wooden face-fixtures, drawing comparisons to the remnants of a smashed-up picket fence. David Gandy publicly insulted his work too, however the majority of fashion journalists admired his courage and talent. Alex Fury called it “magnificent,” while Tim Blanks notes that Green is one of the few instigators of the ever-elusive “fashion moment”.
Throughout all of this, Green keeps his head down, re-examining and re-interpreting “ideas of masculinity, youth, ritual and cults”, and keeping “a big focus on craft” and technique. “I tend to never be so restrictive with a solid concept for the collection,” he says. “I think it’s better to leave it broad and open for interpretation, but also to attempt to convey a strong and definite feeling or emotion.” His fascination with the handmade no doubt comes from his family background – his dad is a plumber, and his step-dad is a carpenter. “I like knitters and carpenters and painters,” he lets on.
In the short two years since graduating, Craig has picked up a nomination from the British Fashion Council for an emerging talent award, and landed the cover of The Independent Magazine. He also works with a new PR agency, Starworks, but don’t expect a formulaic rise to the top. “We always aim to surprise,” Green admits, with a smile. He sure does.