Started in 2009, Forgotten Future is the up-beat, laid-back, bang-on menswear label that says if boys must be boys, then they should dress like this!
Founder and designer of Forgotten Future Richard Dawson graduated from the Central St Martin’s MA Menswear course in 2001, having been awarded the much coveted bursary by Professor Louise Wilson. In his latest collection (now stocked at ASOS and Oki-ni), he explores traditionalist crafts and artistry used during the post-war ‘make do and mend’ period. Titled ‘Pony Youth’, the collection applies durable craftwork with heritage for the 21st century, producing an oversized, modern silhouette.
Documentaries of young lads photographed by Perry Ogden at Dublin horse fairs in the 1990s were the central inspiration for A/W 11. Imagine if you will, scally Nike clad tweens with a pared down equestrian twist and you’ll get the gist of it. Building on this idea of old track tops alongside crafted traditional garments, the range presents Irish Fair Isle and geometric prints adorning cardigans and tops, nylon windbreakers, half pale yellow, half navy, heavily embellished woven blanked fabrics, quilted tops and corduroy track pants in a muted colour palette. Vintage details appear through small touches like the pocket detailing and rolled up ankles typical for any badge hungry 1950s boy scout.
Here, the designer sheds some light on the intricacies and thinking behind the collection and offers his list of staples a man can’t do without. Take note.
Could you explain a bit about the processes you went through to create Pony Youth? The collection was part influenced by the Perry Ogden book ‘Pony Kids’. I’ve loved that book ever since it came out over ten years ago. Funnily enough, back then my tutor (Louise Wilson) used to tell me I looked like the boys in the book. The photos document the disappearing youth culture at Dublin’s horse fairs in the 90s, notably the tribal mix of pattern, texture and sportswear detail. I’m also inspired by the generational hand-me-down approach, like when your school uniform was bought a size larger so it would last. This aesthetic helped inspire a slightly oversized feel to the garments. Other influences came from a post-war vibe, such as a pair of 50s scout trousers with really interesting pocket details and the whole casual work-wear approach. It’s important to me that these influences are interpreted with a modern feel.
How would you describe the Forgotten Future aesthetic? I’d say it’s progressive yet wearable, boyish with a strong colour message.
What drives you as a designer? Creative freedom. I love the whole creative process, designing what you feel is right for today. Seeing your work worn and appreciated.
What’s inspiring you today? Some old photos I took of suburban boutiques in the Midlands during the 90s while I was a fashion student. And I’ve been listening to the Cocteau Twins, which has a nice soothing effect, as I’m close to Spring/Summer 2012 completion.
How do you think menswear has changed over the last five years? Men I notice, are dressing and styling themselves in a more individual and mixed up way nowadays. They are much more experimental with colour and proportion. The generic skinny, dark ‘fashion’ silhouette pushed by almost every designer 5 years ago is so passé now. Much of this change is down to general progression and the new breed of menswear designers popping up all over the place.
What would you say are the staple items in a man’s wardrobe? There are so many staples depending on the man but generally I’d say:
- A pair of understated cream chinos, they are a great everyday trouser.
- A roomy plain T-shirt in a marl jersey or block colour.
- A blazer – two-buttoned and single-breasted, clichéd I know but even the most casual guy sometimes has to look smart and it can be dressed down as well.
- A crew necked sweater, whether it’s knitted in rib, aran or cable, they are all fairly classic.
- A waterproof Mac – whether you’re pushing the trench or something sportier with a hood is down to the individual.
- Finally a pair of jeans grey or blue. Not the super skinny type or the other extreme, more of a 501 fit.
Are clothes an extension of character? To a certain point, most people tend to dress for their lifestyle and tribe rather than who they are or would like to be. I like to see people who are not bogged down by trends and are creative with fashion in whatever shape or form, having their own unique look where their clothing is a part of their character as much as their smile.
Who do you design for? I’d say he was a fashion aware man, an individual who is looking for something different and new with interesting details. He wants to stand out to a certain extent but without looking like a victim.