A designer collection that's designed to shock – and not just with the prices
Some might view turning the tragedy of Jean Charles de Menezes into high fashion as the nadir of taste. The designer does not agree
via The Guardian
There is the "Stockwell denim jacket"; there are the "Stockwell jeans", boasting foot covers made from bulletproof Kevlar; and, most strikingly, a black rucksack in the shape of an upside-down skull.
A range of menswear by Aitor Throup appears designed to shock, inspired by the outfit worn by Jean Charles de Menezes when the innocent Brazilian electrician was shot dead by police at Stockwell underground station in 2005.
Some might view turning tragedy into high fashion (the jeans cost £975; the rucksack is yours for £2,055, and has been selling well at London's Dover Street Market) as the nadir of taste but Throup says his "political fashion" is "hugely respectful" and raises awareness of the dangers of ethnic stereotyping.
"I can only react to things that have had a deep effect on me," says Throup, who was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Burnley. In the tense days following the terrorist attacks of July 2005, he experienced stereotyping first-hand. When fellow Tube passengers saw his dark hair, beard and favourite black rucksack, they hurriedly got off the train.
Throup, who designed England's World Cup 2010 strip and has collaborated with Kasabian and Stone Island as well as creating work in response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, wants his clothing to be "a reminder for people to realise how wrongly you can judge people".
He says: "I see it as a responsibility to remind people just what that [ethnic stereotyping] can mean." Throup says the Kevlar actually has no symbolic link to de Menezes and is simply the best material to use for his new type of jeans, which include integrated footwear. These are typical of his 20-piece range – which launches in January 2013 after six years in the making – in which he is striving to devise truly innovative forms of clothing.Throup, who graduated from the Royal College of Art with a collection inspired by Hinduism and the designer uniforms of football hooligans, says he is "as much of a fine artist as I am a product designer".
– in which he is striving to devise truly innovative forms of clothing.
"It's the beginning of a new universe," he says of his new range. "The concepts I'm working on are so personally and morally important they are much more than a seasonal theme – they are what I want to explore for ever."