Disrupting opinion forces conversation and sits at the root of the Studio Nicholson creative process. A different slant on things, a novel take on the established way of being – they both mark the beginnings of something new. This revitalisation of the traditional assumptions about the meaning of ‘art’ were central to the works of the Young British Artists (the YBAs), who were a motley crew of recently graduated Goldsmith’s College Fine Art degree students who shook-up the international art scene in the early 1990s.
This bunch of irreverent rebels were the inspiration behind the Studio Nicholson Pre-Spring 22 collection. They came to dominate the landscape of British Art against a backdrop of poll tax riots, economic turbulence, and the stifling of rave culture. With work that provoked strong reactions throughout society (both negative and positive), they collectively flicked the Vs as the oppression of Tory rule. What began as a low rent, low-fi affair with Damien Hirst’s curation of the Freeze and Modern Medicine exhibitions in 1988, culminated in multi-million dollar auctions and international acclaim. A rum bunch of like minded, ambitious, and talented individuals, they pooled resources in a determined bid to force the stiff upper-lipped art buffs to stop and take note of the new postmodernism. Photographers, painters, sculptors, and videographers, their gritty, entrepreneurial spirit secured a fair few Turner Prize wins.
For anyone concerned that PS22 is going to be a take on pickled sharks in tanks of formaldehyde, fear not. This is more about mood than literal connections. It’s about chucking out the easel and paying homage to the gumption shown by Tracey Emin when she exhibited ‘My Bed’ at Tate in 1999, complete with stains, slippers, and symbolic condoms. Or highlighting the tomboy aesthetic of Sarah Lucas’ slouchy defiance in faded men’s Levi’s, battered leather jackets, and boxy tees, which have always been a silhouette thread for Studio Nicholson.
Unlike many other brands, Studio Nicholson has always been driven by an unquenchable desire to seek out the most interesting, durable, elegant, and future-proofed fabrics. This obsession with raw materials is what makes the modular wardrobe stand out against a sea of sub-standard imitations. The YBA process aligns with founder Nick Wakeman’s lifelong enthusiasm for innovation and forward thinking. A fashion disrupter, she couldn’t care less about trends and instead sticks to her own uniquely defiant strategy of making playful clothes that energize and flatter both genders, regardless of age, shape, or size.
PS22 harnesses the YBA zeal with a signature mix of texture. With generous patch pockets, the A-line Ada skirt is a beefy, utilitarian denim dream that’s been designed to act as a hardwearing alternative to pants. The Hirst oozes oversized trench flavours, especially worn as the final piece of the jigsaw with the continuity Conde Jacket, new Bisset Shirt, and continuity Asher Pant underneath. The standout Chapman Pant screams inner city sports track with bold elasticated waist and cuffs but looks effortlessly feminine topped with the delicacy of the Wender Shirt.
The lower quadrant is taken care of with the new bent leg carpenter style, the Rae in Black, Indigo, and White denim and for those who prefer the one-stop shop mode for dressing, the Slee Jumpsuit has you covered. Responsibly sourced Hazelnut lamb leather is peppered throughout – bringing a buttersoft slice of nutty luxury to the trusted Studio Nicholson favourites. Rich navy, optic white, gentle charcoal melanges, ethereal soapy green, cornflower blue, pops of Persimmon and the obligatory grey marls keep the colour palette feeling distinctly modern. To finish, just punctuate with the Wearing Clog or the Tate Mule and a chunky sock to retain that alluring art school sophisticate enigma.