Gareth Wrighton works between a variety of media including knitwear, tailoring, photography and computer modelling, producing work that examines the touch of hand in the digital age. The Central Saint Martins alum takes on the globalisation of garment production, and the impact of fast fashion on the communities in which it is made and consumed. A dedication to sustainability in fashion and do-it-yourself maker movements manifest in bespoke, one-off pieces that antagonise an industry led by overconsumption.
Wrighton graduated from the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins in 2016. His graduate project, an online store called “the Maul,” envisioned postapocalyptic zombie killers as armed video game characters – a dystopian take on luxury e-commerce. Accompanying the collection and online shop was an interactive video game that had the player run around the abandoned shopping ‘maul,’ littered with mannequins and corpses wearing virtual renderings of the handmade collection. The Maul is being relaunched in late 2019, as a further dig on the state of fast fashion going into the 2020s.
Following his graduation, Wrighton worked as a freelance photographer, stylist, and art director, before embarking on a four month residency in Johannesburg with fellow Saint Martins alum Ib Kamara and South African photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman. Working with a local tailor, models, dancers and craftspeople, and using textiles and trinkets sourced from around the city, they realised a 22 look collection of fictional characters. ‘Soft Criminal’ tells the story of political coups, warring dynasties and feuding families caught in a violent power struggle.
In September 2018, the collection and accompanying styling imagery were exhibited at Red Hook Labs in Brooklyn, NYC as a live fashion presentation, and photographic installation. Wrighton showed his AW19 collection with Fashion East in February 2019. ‘In the Pines: The Ballad of Meredith Hunter,’ explored the contradictions within late 20th Century Americana and the state of contemporary fashion, as well as showcasing his own fanatical obsessions with Pop, Rock, Violence, and the failures of the Free Love movement.
Most recently, for Spring/Summer 2020, Wrighton presented his latest collection at London Fashion Week, integrating everything from hacked knitwear and a Sailor Moon-inspired pleated miniskirt to a black catsuit adorned with white pom-poms. Subversive prints, now a signature of Wrighton’s, came in the form of rotting cherries peppered across white boxer shorts and twisted chiffon halternecks, shown alongside a tongue-in-cheek slogan tee, reading “my other t-shirt’s a cum rag”.
Feature image via Gareth Wrighton