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Move, Shake and Demonstrate – Reimagining Grunge for our Winter of Discontent

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I feel honoured to be part of the so-called Generation X. There was none of this 'keyboard warrior' stuff back then – we had a dreadlocked 'Swampy' tunnelling under the A30 and bonking coppers on the head with his Levellers CDs. Trafalgar Square was ablaze thanks to thousands of protestors who'd leapt up from settees all over the UK and descended on the capital to demonstrate against Thatcher's introduction of the Poll Tax. With so much civil unrest going on, it was a magical era for tempestuous teens like me; we finally had something to moan about, after years of moping around our bedrooms feeling alienated, disillusioned and directionless.

 

It was around this time that I started pinching my grandad's jumpers. A man who loved nothing more than watching the News at Ten armed with a stack of cream crackers and a breezeblock of cheddar, it should come as no surprise to hear that grandma Sadie always added a few extra rows on the knitting pattern to accommodate his, ahem, sizeable waistline. Anyways, (his impending type II diabetes aside) these gigantic woolly things were the perfect comfort blanket during a time of extreme adolescent stroppiness, door slamming and general all-round outrage at any perceived injustice happening in the world outside. Exhausted from screaming at my poor parents about how much I hated them, I'd storm off upstairs to listen to The Pixies on full blast, hurl myself onto the bed and cry into my pillow about environmental catastrophes like 'acid rain'.

 

Once the dust had settled (or side A of Doolittle had finished) I'd sit up and stretch grandad's lumpy crewneck over my knees, stare wistfully into the middle distance and wipe away my snot with his sleeve. Teamed with unwashed band t-shirts, cigarette burns in my tights and scuffed Doctor Martens, those misshapen cardigans and cable knits were my way of communicating. They were stolen, oversized sartorial signifiers of the trauma beneath (which, for the record, would have amounted to not being allowed to go and watch The Stone Roses at Spike Island). Unconventional proportions will always raise an eyebrow - it's the ultimate fuck you. Extended calf skimming sleeves teeter between theatre and grunge, radiating anarchy and the refusal to conform.

 

For Autumn/Winter 2019 Studio Nicholson has amplified and deconstructed the classics, bringing into sharp focus the emotional importance of how clothing can make us feel, subverting everything we know about size to create hardworking pieces that give the wearer a sensation of liberation and autonomy. Fluid tailoring wool skirts with carefully cut double vents that can be worn folded to conceal or reveal the leg; long, lean triple length cuffs that evoke memories of pubescent clothes-borrowing or sculptural knits that cocoon and protect us against the inevitable Armageddon we're facing under the newly elected British Prime Minister. It's like the 1990s all over again, only this time we're grown-ups, there's no time for slouching.

 

Leanne Cloudsdale

 

Studio Nicholson's Editor-at-large

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