Contemporary womenswear label Aries is inspired by the anti-consumerist youth movements of the second half of the 20th century, a return of the 80s sensibility where street-wear was fashion and vice-versa. Created by ex Silas designer Sofia Prantera, and graphic artist Fergus Purcell, patterns are made in house and garments are hand printed and hand dyed in the Aries studio.
I had struggled with reconciling my love for fashion, beautifully made and cut clothes, and sartorial experimentation with the love for street wear, anti-fashion youth movements and trash culture in general so, as we sat writing our first manifesto, we decided that Aries should encompass all these elements.
We wanted Aries to be a return to that 80s sensibility where street wear was fashion and vice versa. I make most of our patterns myself and we hand dye and hand print in the studio. I like going against conventional pattern-cutting rules.
I love that we can create pieces with first hand experimentation which would be almost impossible to make within the constraints of a high street brand. We can also be a lot less wasteful – using off cuts of leather to make jeans labels, reusing leftover fabric and denim to patch jeans. This is the challenge for any new brand now – to keep it original, experimental and a little subversive while still being able to survive in a crowded market, constricted by the demands of big generic retailers and sweat shop prices.
Recently Ferg and I were in Milan and, after ordering breakfast in a bar we were asked to pay up front. I was carrying an expensive designer bag and while paying I turned the bag round so the logo was visible. The waitress immediately apologised. I’m not sure who she thought we were before recognising the luxury branding, or why it made any difference, as the bag could have been fake or stolen. But for me it summarised how fashion can be so defining. It made me realise why I have always been so compelled by it.
Whether we like it or not, it influences the way we live our everyday lives. And this made me feel even more strongly about making the essence of Aries so undefinable. Some sort of subtle challenge to the way we all read each other’s appearances.