The richness of life is in the absence of certainties, says Bryan Conway, an Irish-born fashion designer.
As design director at Tiger of Sweden, a 117-year-old Swedish fashion brand primarily known for its tailoring, he spent confinement at his home in Stockholm, reflecting on the uncertainty of our future and the direction that the mode might take as we get closer. lives that looked like the Before Times. It was through contemplation that Conway discovered where menswear could go next.
He rolled out good solutions: an abstract marble-print pajama-style shirt and shorts worn recklessly under a beige overcoat, a long-sleeved polo collar paired with a navy suit, a roomy, loose black button, and matching cropped pants. with casual. ease, and blue jeans and slippers with a crisp white shirt. He had this locking sensibility: simple, comfortable clothes to quell existential fear.
With infection rates on the rise again, our winter might reflect our spring: spent much of it indoors, studying our own images on the tiny little panel at a Zoom meeting, and thinking about those new ones. pants whose ghostly presence has stagnated the air in our wardrobes. Alas, now is not the time to be negative. People have a livelihood to earn and fashion designers continue to self-assess, to determine the role of fashion in our ever-changing lives.
It’s something that has been on Conways’ mind. On a video conference call from his Stockholm studio, he shared that he was thinking about some things: “ What does it mean to wear a suit? ”, “ What is a uniform for a man now? And “ if the tailored jacket is less important, what takes its place? Before continuing, he won’t give up sewing anytime soon. This is to Tiger of Sweden what the nested Cs are to Chanel or check is to Burberry.
A bespoke suit or tailored jacket is so loaded that it is not just a piece of clothing, it has so many stories and information about how the company has evolved over the years. He has wealth, he notes.
We can see how the pandemic has repositioned tailoring in its collection: a blazer with jeans, a relaxed fit tuxedo in a peach hue and a slimmer charcoal version, but without the rigorous rigor that usually dominates the formal suit.
For Spring / Summer 2021, which will hit stores early next year, the bet is to take Tiger of Swedens’ modus operandi style with purpose, with all the frills of instantly recognizable Scandinavian minimalism and give it a some emotion and romance.
Minimalism can get very cold. It makes you wonder, where is the emotion or the storytelling? It lacks romance and richness, he says.
Making minimalism interesting is a much more subtle message. If a man is right, when you look at them you might spend a second on their outfit and then look at them again and slowly you start making some of those decisions. He doesn’t have to scream, it can be a sweet message. I find it more exciting in a way.
You can see it in the way he puts a thin polo collar under a chunky-cut jacket and blue jeans, and how those same blue jeans, cut just below the ankle, can add liveliness to a black overcoat with the collar. statement.
Conway, 34, was born in Raheeny, County Dublin, to parents Cork (his mother) and Clare (his father). He moved to London at the age of four but returned at 18 to study economics at Trinity College Dublin. He sounds distinctly more English than Irish, but claims a strong connection to his Irish heritage, spending most vacations in Cork or West Cork.
It was after spending six months in a hedge fund that he decided the economy was not for him to take a leap of faith and enroll in art at Camberwell College of Art. He was particularly interested in a fashion module which took him to the University of Westminster, where he studied menswear, and where he worked with Christopher Bailey at Burberry after a successful internship.
Conway worked on the Burberrys runway collections throughout the final years of his design degree before taking a permanent position upon graduation.
His internship led to six years of training closely with Bailey, ending his time at the British Heritage brand with the responsibility of leading the menswear track team.
From there he joined JW Anderson, founded by fellow Irishman Jonathan Anderson, as a senior designer of men’s clothing, leading the men’s team. Bryan has delivered three runway collections and two successful collaborations with Uniqlo.
In May 2019 he was invited to join Tiger of Sweden as Head of Menswear. When he joined, he worked closely with his predecessor, Christoffer Lundmann. Among their innovations, they sought to renew the possibilities of men’s fashion, offering a modern, bespoke update. The high performance technical wool blazers come with removable recycled nylon hoods. The pants come with hiking features.
Now Conway is in charge of the whole operation. In his post, he will oversee the brand’s men’s, women’s, jeans and accessories lines, a size company for any designer, regardless of their pedigree.
His work will place evolution on revolution. Spring / Summer 2021 is still as useful, tactile and simple as ever. He’s not looking to redecorate a popular home for what it does best. Rather, he hopes that his outside perspective on a Scandinavian label can reinvigorate him and not just for locals, for men around the world as well.
Most importantly, he says: I’m not trying to shout out loud to everyone around me with our menswear, its subtle fashion.
In a deafening landscape, a little calm does not go badly.
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