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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Presentation Review: Cooperative Designs (by Amelia)

Cooperative Designs create amazing knitwear for real women. Their new It's Alright collection for A/W 2011 was a rave inspired stunner, shown in the vaults of the RSA.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Cooperative Designs A/W 2011 by Natsuki Otani
Cooperative Designs A/W 2011 by Natsuki Otani.

Last season I was incredibly gutted to miss the Cooperative Designs presentation – such were the glowing reports on our website. But in my enthusiasm I actually turned up too early this time, got turned away, ate a Pret sandwich… and then missed most of what turned out to actually be a catwalk show on repeat.


Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Tim Adey.

Descending some stairs we were asked to sit in a darkened vault but my photographer’s sixth sense directed me instead to stand in a separate photographers box, where the models paused for a few seconds in somewhat brighter conditions.

Cooperative Designs A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Cooperative Designs A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

This was a collection inspired by 90s rave culture, Drum n Bass and the contemplative industrial photography of Thomas Struth, which meant that the oversized silhouette of Cooperative Designs came in industrial tones of grey and beige stripes combined with fluoro highlights in tie detailing, visors and threaded hair accessories.

Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Tim Adey.
Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Tim Adey.

Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryCooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

There was lots of asymmetrical patterning, floppy hooded jumpers, boxy baggy tops and knit dresses tiered with baggy pouches. Lacy see through knitwear recalled the combat trouser shapes so beloved of 90s dancers. Hats by Noel Stewart were tall and floppy like a gnome’s or featured ear flaps and visors – questionable styles that were somehow rendered infinitely desirable. A wide knitted skirt was particularly cute, as were the little boots by Flip Flop, customised by Cooperative Designs with extravagant orange soles.

Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryCooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryCooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Cooperative Designs A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Of any designers that I love I can actually imagine myself wearing Cooperative Designs. Their clever knitwear is by it’s very nature supremely flattering to the shape of a real women. Thankfully, they make a point of picking their models to reflect their customer.

Cooperative Designs 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Plywood jewellery by Corrie Williamson for Cooperative Designs 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

On my way out I was given a brilliant press release: informative, well written and protected in a cardboard envelope that even I would struggle to lose. Best of all, it came with my very own piece of painted plywood jewellery by Corrie Williamson, as featured in the collection. More designers could learn from such professionalism on the press release frontier.

You can read Naomi Law’s excellent review here and you can see more of Natsuki Otani’s work in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

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