LONDON — Central Saint Martins design duo Freddy Coombes and Matt Empringham are set to release their first book, “All Black Flexing Tour Bus, ESC Key Filter System, A Blanket Ambience E-Scooter” at 180 The Strand on Friday. And actor Emma Corrin has already sported a look straight from its pages.
An exploration into showcasing fabric in its purest form, the designers created 30 garments, made from paper, bulldog clips and neoprene tubes. Most notably, the book is an ode to young talent with the images taken by upcoming photographer Marius Uhlig.
The duo, who met during their foundation year at the fashion university, were approached by independent publishing company Ayvan to create their very own book after exhibiting their fifth collection together last summer.
There was just one problem: both were about to set off on their year working in the industry — Coomes to Paris-based Loewe and Empringham to JW Anderson in London — and the duo had to devise a way to create an entirely new collection from two different places.
“We had to find a way of making a collection in different countries, in different cities, which was an underlying point of interest for us,” Coomes explained.
“We had to conceive of a construction method for these clothes that didn’t involve us physically being there. So we designed all of these things through talking about them,” he continued.
Without a way to collectively construct the garments, Coomes and Empringham looked for accessible ways to experiment with themes of time and space.
“Ultimately, everything was very much material led. We really didn’t know what the look was until we’d found the material; for example, there’s a look that involves adhesive leather that we’d found in a factory in Paris. That fabric completely informed the design, because it was just assembled on the day,” Empringham said.
“There’s not one single bit of stitching or sewing in any of the looks. We didn’t have the prep time to make any of these garments. What we did was buy all of the different parts and components. Then, when the model arrived, we’d actually make it, so all the garments are made virtually on the spot,” Coomes added.
About to enter their final year at fashion college, the designers aren’t slowing down any time soon: they’re hoping to present their first produced collection at the Central Saint Martins BA fashion show; publish a cookbook and start producing furniture.
“We’re just keen to see it as another year of just keeping the working relationship ongoing…carrying on with the trajectory we have, making the work we wanna make, in the way we wanna make it,” Empringham concluded.