If the job market is proving less than welcoming for budding designers right now, there are, thankfully, alternative methods of carrying on your creative pursuits and being able to afford to live on something a little more substantial than a daily tin of baked beans.
ITS (International Talent Support) is a Northern Italian-based initiative whose good work I've mentioned here a few times in passing; suffice to say, this body doles out some of the most coveted awards to some of the most talented final-year fashion students as part of ITS#Fashion sponsored by Diesel. Now, having reached its ninth edition, the standard shows no sign of faltering. Here are two of the menswear highlights (Part 2 to follow)...
^ ITS#Fashion Collection of the Year from Shaun Samson
Californian-born Shaun Samson started off in LA, then continued to put his best fashion-foot forward, emigrating to the UK in order to enrol at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. He's worked on a total of four collections for Jeremy Scott, which suggests to me - considering the disparity between his own work and Jeremy Scott's brash and barmy aesthetic - that he may be a new Kaiser Karl of sorts, a commercially astute designer capable of catering to several different needs.
Composed mainly of oversized silhouettes somehow enticing in their awkwardness, Samson's graduate collection which won this year's Fashion Collection of the Year (€15,000 and a fully-produced catwalk show) is perhaps best described as a fabric nerd's tartan-covered woolly wet-dream. Inspired by Latino street-culture, American work-wear and prison uniform, the collection was exclusively sponsored by Woolrich which makes for a happy, and somewhat more solvent Samson, but a slightly compromised collection which in some ways seems to have restricted the designer to variations on a theme: the luxe Neanderthal.
His technical innovation (he invented a needle punch felting technique which enables him to combine several dissimilar fabrics into a seemingly seamless gradation of materials) smacks of Prada, while his cuts and austere aesthetic (loud check prints aside) echo the masters of minimalism, Marni by Consuelo Castiglioni and Raf Simons.
I probably wouldn't wear it but loan me a few grand and I'd happily see it hanging in a display case.
Images from F Tape