When choosing the clothes we wear, for many of us, the tasks we’ll be performing in them are a practical and rational consideration that influence our sartorial selectivity.
British designer Margaret Howell explores this concept of fashion and function with her latest design collaboration for SS12. London-based Howell, renowned for her no-nonsense, salt-of-the-earth aesthetic has gone back to the roots of her creative philosophy in her venture with landscape designer, Dan Pearson.
Coming from a family of creative and dynamic thinkers, Pearson’s father was an artist, whilst his mother was a fashion and textiles tutor. Having taken an interest in gardening from an early age, Pearson turned down the opportunity to attend art college to take up a post at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Gardens in Surrey. His formative years spent here assisted in shaping him into one of the UK’s most prolific and innovative landscape gardeners.
Given his artistic prowess and inspired design ethos, Howell jumped at the chance to combine their creative muscle to produce a garment of both practical and aesthetic perfection. This is Howell’s third collaboration with a professional outside of the fashion industry.
Bearing in mind the physical nature of Pearson’s profession, Howell opted to design a utilitarian work wear shirt – the perfect piece for the man on the job. With both Howell and Pearson passionate about the ethics and origins of the materials they work with, Howell began by sourcing the shirt’s fabric locally, in the UK. The organic, undyed linen cloth was woven by the highly-respected Spence Bryson mill in Northern Ireland, whilst the natural horn buttons were supplied by centuries-old button manufacturers, James Grove, based near Halesowen, in the West Midlands.
The detailing of the shirt also reflects the design duo’s appetite for practicality of wear, with oversized cuff gussets, an inverted back pleat detail for ease of movement , and two button-down utility pockets to house on-the-job tools.
The end product of this intimate design process is a wearable, durable work shirt, with an understated and relaxed aesthetic appeal. At once a style that can be absorbed into any man’s weekday uniform, this quality piece is a masterclass in functional and textural excellence, proving that practicality and style can go hand-in-hand rather well.