At the forefront of London street culture & at the zeitgeist of the British working class, Samual Ross’s A-Cold-Wall* put on his most accomplished show to date on Sunday in East London’s Old Truman Brewery, his first after previous seasons of showing at the BFC space. The viewers, on entering the space, were each given a vacuum pack of safety goggles, ear plugs and a ventilation mask. The show began with a group of models wearing full clay covered grey garments and their faces painted grey slowly moving in unison throughout the space, the group appearing throughout the show to guard the clothing models with metal rods. The show was named ‘Human. Form. Structure.’ with the three concepts examined throughout the show. The clothes ranged from structured jackets to cargo shorts, bright yellow, oxblood and grey in colour with flashes of colourful metallic details in crimson. The trousers loose fitting with padding above the knee. The show ended with the grey group of models breaking down a structured wall that had been brought onto the runway, followed by a lonely figure in red paint pushing the structure away.
In attendance was Ross’s old mentor Virgil Abloh, with whom he had worked as an intern, then moved on to be his right hand assistant and consultant. On working with Abloh, Ross recently told Vogue UK “It’s funny because I can look at it from a few angles — as someone who has been a part of his journey, someone who looks at him as a mentor, someone and who is a person of colour in this industry,” he says. “He articulates the information of our time and he has worked incredibly hard consistently for over a decade, and most of that was behind-the-scenes, without public acknowledgement.” This has given Ross the insight and ability to ensure the designer does not become isolated form the consumer, a drive in many current successful streetwear labels.
A-Cold-Wall* refers to the idea of feeling a cold surface as a common social denominator — an Edwardian marble colonnade and council estate scaffolding evoking the same sensation for two different social groups. “It’s really about presenting conceptual ideas at a digestible level,” he says, referencing the bright synthetics of construction sites and council estates, as well as contemporary working class subcultures.