Representing the creative future

Rory Parnell-Mooney SS16

During London Collections: Men, the Irish-born CSM MA Fashion alumnus Rory Parnell-Mooney presented a denim-dressed dystopia at The Old Sorting Office in Bloomsbury, supported by Topman and Fashion East’s MAN scheme, that for years has enabled young designers to get their feet on the ground in the industry.

The 10th anniversary of MAN and the 15th of Fashion East calls for an appropriate contemplation in the British fashion landscape today – and a reminder that LCM probably wouldn’t have existed without it. Speaking to him a few days later, Mooney expressed his immense gratitude to the scheme: “I would never have been able to do a show on schedule without their help. But they offered their support in loads of other ways, too, like with selling, and with the British Fashion Council’s showrooms in Paris.”

He presented a collection that was so full of detail and craftsmanship; working with messy, ‘checked’ untreated linen, and contrasting it to clean laser cut edges — a feel that is at once organic and futuristic. “I think the interesting textiles in the collection always happen organically – we never start with a plan,” he explains. As the models walked down the runway, an aesthetic and textual cohesiveness was nonetheless clear throughout.

Photography by Joshua Woods

Mooney works distinctively a la CSM: very historically and atmospherically, and insists on following a dark abstracted silhouette rather than real referenced garments. An ice-cold and slowed down version of Nirvana’s Breed set the mood. It was a raw, pubescent and neo-Gothic kind of beauty, accentuated by the styling, that saw the guys wrapped in semi-transparent, stocking-like hats. “It kind of came from this idea of a new form of sexuality that we were thinking about this season,” Mooney tells us, “like this cocksure teenager who does not understand his own beauty. I was just really thinking back to my teenage years listening to Marilyn Manson and hating everything.”

Photography via

“I think the way I look at designing clothes is always to simplify and to let the cloth do the work. A lot of designers have done this over the years, but I think that I’m trying to find a new angle on it; making a genderless garment — something that is so simple and pure that it’s not tied to traditional ideas of what is male and female. But I also really want to keep as many different projects on the go as I can,” he adds. “I would love to work on non fashion projects like ceramics and sculpture. But let’s just see how much free time I have in the next year!”