I remember the first time I saw the work of Joseph Standish and his Honest Man. I was blown away by the sincerity of the design, the realisation of who the every day man is – for Joseph, he is the beer drinkers, the chain smokers, the Pina Coladas, the good guys, the all guys, the 5 ft 9s and the 9 to 5’s .. to name a few. The Honest Man is a breathe of fresh air within the current climate of designer competition, and with sustainability as the key ethos for Standish, it is hard not to be intrigued into such a key game player within the sustainable market.
Recent Fashion Design and Development graduate from University of the Arts London, Standish is what they call that “something different”, or in other words, the rare magician of magic that no one has thought of. On meeting Standish, the presented collection stood out from the surrounding tailoring, urban wear and tongue-in-cheek knitwear. In an array of orange, denim and white, hand-sketching giving a personalised touch to the magnitude of textiles and dimensions, Honest Man is not just a collection of clothing. As well as garments, I met Eddie – the loveable sustainable average man of the group (in addition to Raoul, Dave, Jimmy, Bruce and Tony), an entire figure made of fabric, which is all from recycled pre-own garments. Not only this, I got to see the produce of garments completely redesigned from previous un-wanted and un-loved fabrications.
I contemplated why Joseph Standish chose this route. It’s very rare after all, that many designers want to cater for what ‘average Joe’ will want, or even take on previously used textiles to create a collection. From the flat in Peckham hanging out with his friends, Standish believes that he couldn’t see himself on the catwalks and in high end, and indeed, his setting in Peckham “seemed more real.” Standish wanted to create “something that everyone could enjoy, something that everyone can get experience from.” I thought about Raoul, Eddie, Bruce and Jimmy.. why Tony and Dave? “I thought back to being in the Midlands, the sites and people I grew up with, the characters that defined my personality and perspective. It’s something I am very proud of and really wanted to celebrate.” Standish it seemed, speaks with an honest mind and honest heart, but why sustainability? “It’s important to promote positive values, fashion has a huge scope and influence on our society. I tried to create a collection built around inclusivity, creating garments and themes that were meant to be fun and inviting. Promoting ideas of sustainability using pre existing silhouettes and body positivity “models” purposely avoiding the typical esoteric fashion story.”
As I walked through the collection, it was easy to see the love and care that Standish has for his collection, and I pondered on what he would say to students that are in the position that he once was in. “stick to your idea, be confident in it,” Standish mused in reply, “enjoy it.. I had so much fun creating this collection and it wasn’t work at all. It’s something I believe it and really feel confident in.”
As we left the presentation room, I felt as if I had been given a breathe of fresh air – amidst the see-now-buy-now collections, the unisex merging of menswear and womenswear, it was incredibly refreshing to meet a designer who truly understood average Eddy and how to design for the Honest Man.
words by Jasmine Banbury
images by Alexis Negrin
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