CONGREGATION design: the first ‘Responsive Fashion Brand’?

Meet London’s ghost collective changing its team every season, coming together to create collections away from their daily 9-5s

in brief

Formed less than a year ago, CONGREGATION design is a multidisciplinary group with an offering focusing on a fluid, genderless aesthetic and relying on an on-demand principle; that researches and works on a peculiar theme each season, scattering after that to be reborn through a new one assembled for the next collection.

We’ve known about designers working a classic 9 to 5 yet producing their own individual design through their namesake brand for long (Kevin Germanier, for instance). But a London-based collective decided to bring this stance to another level. Meet CONGREGATION design, a partnership between young artists and designers approaching fashion as a collaborative side-hustle.

Formed less than a year ago by a recent graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, going by the name ‘marie’, the gang adopts a flexible stance in the way it produces collections, avoiding the headache of the industry’s habitually seasonal calendar and gathering together according to each and everyone’s day job. Even more fascinating is the group’s singular approach to work and collaboration, through a mutual assistance and community based process, which could positively be perceived as a plot to bring more relief and well-being to creatives in the fashion world.

“It took us one year after the first season to start on the second – it’s important to remember this is not our full-time job, and taking our time is essential to us enjoying every step of the creative process. The number one CONGREGATION rule is that as soon as the work is too much and stops being enjoyable, take a break and come back when you feel ready to contribute again.” ‘marie’, founder of CONGREGATION design on DAZED, june 2018

Credit: Photography by Rosie Marks – CONGREGATION design Collection1

Going beyond the traditional fashion brand approach, the designers and artists from CONGREGATION design choose to remain completely anonymous, certainly taking a page from Martin Margiela & Helmut Lang’s playbook: indeed, such stance is crucial to the group and its approach which privileges the design and not the name behind it, leading to the discovery of a multidisciplinary group, built as a living organism that researches and works on a peculiar theme each season, scattering after that to be reborn through a new one assembled for the next collection. We knew about the permanent beta, yet this might be the very first fashion brand in permanent reboot, bringing collections to life through each individuals’ unique and personal translation of the project.

“When I graduated from the RCA with my MA in menswear, I felt I only had two options that would lead into a successful career in fashion: either set up my own label and produce a full collection every six months, or work for a big, established label and do the same. In the end, I decided neither was for me and stuck to what I believed in, which was designing and making my own clothing in my spare time. A few months later, I was approached by a stylist who encouraged me to produce a new collection, but I just couldn’t commit to the workload. So I decided to share creating a collection with some of my ex-classmates, colleagues, and friends. They are all in the same position as me – they’re working full-time in different roles, but still have a desire to produce their own individual designs, garments, and objects, and CONGREGATION allows them to do so.” ‘marie’, founder of CONGREGATION design on DAZED, june 2018

Credit: Photography by Rosie Marks – CONGREGATION design Collection1

Credit: Photography by Rosie Marks – CONGREGATION design Collection1

But the collective’s ambition doesn’t stop here in its desire to challenge numerous fashion current practices, fostering sustainability and the desire to offer an antidote to fast fashion. These noble intentions come true through a number of initiatives, like the workshops led during the latest Fashion Revolution Week, dedicated to the exploration of different approaches to working within the industry (especially collaborative garment manufacturing and image-building).

Credit: Photography by Rosie Marks – CONGREGATION design Collection1

The group’s first pieces were picked up by Higher Studio, an online fashion rental platform offering garments by emerging designers, with a design focusing on a fluid, genderless aesthetic and relying on a zero stock, on-demand principle. This year, CONGREGATION design debuted its second collection during London Fashion Week Men, along with a new publication baptized CONGREGATION Zine 2. The pieces hit the rails of new concept store 50-M and will soon be available in Paris, at The community – an experimental art, fashion, design, publishing and culture space taking the form of a multidisciplinary platform. In the meantime, the gang looks beyond geographical boundaries to expand and thrive, hopefully becoming successful in the near future:

 

 “There’s no geographic limit to creativity! We’ve just begun working with contributors in Paris which I think is going to give us a great insight into seeing how designers and artists will respond to the same body of research from a different location. The new creatives from Paris include emerging designers launching their own label, freelancers, and big label insiders. It is all about pushing boundaries – quite a varied line-up. It’s all very exciting!” ‘marie’, founder of CONGREGATION design on DAZED, june 2018

Credit: CONGREGATION design’s Manifesto – official website

Head to CONGREGATION design’s website to discover more about what we feel is the very first ‘Responsive Fashion Brand’ and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

This brand and its story were first spotted on DAZED.

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