Sage Against The Machine

  • Text: Theo Mohamed
  • Photo: Courtesy of John Alexander Skelton
  • John Alexander Skelton produces a line of tailoring inspired sustainable menswear designed and manufactured in the UK.

    Fashion functions as a machine; it works independently of any designer and is constantly moving forward. In recent years we have seen the trend based system, that drove fashion for most of the last half-century, begin to implode in on itself as referential fashion takes the reins. This freedom within the industry allows for designers like John Alexander Skelton to delve deep into personal influences and build a label whose esotericism is its strongest asset.

    Since graduating from Central St Martins in 2016, Skelton has established his eponymous label receiving attention from the V&A Decorative Arts Museum and received the Sarabande scholarship from the Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation. The designer sees within the fashion industry a detachment between the consumer and the products they purchase - a detachment he wishes to mend. A typical garment purchased today may cross international borders as many as six times in the process of its manufacturing due to the globalization of textile supply chains. With the exception of certain fabrics produced in India, all of Skelton’s production is completed domestically within the UK. He attempts to reduce his own environmental impact as much as possible as more within the fashion industry should. To do so, Skelton has employed many low impact processes such as natural dyeing, domestic production, and the use of vintage textiles.This crossing of temporal boundaries through using old world manufacturing protocols while looking at how they can benefit our future is even further represented through the brand’s aesthetic. With forms rooted in 19th century tailoring but that evoke something more modern, Skelton creates a world that feels traditional yet new.

    John Alexander Skelton does not want to be safe in the fashion industry; he wants risk, he wants to challenge people. Whether it be through his bold traditional designs or through his selling tactics he carries his vision through each stage of his brand. There is a pressure on new designers to take advantage of every resource available to them and to become a global empire. Skelton acts in contradiction to this by not selling his garments online to state that the consumer has a responsibility to interact with a product before they purchase it. Tactile interaction brings humans closer to an object and thus creates a more long-lasting relationship with it. This deep personal connection is important in regards to clothing as people generally tend to over-consume garments. Skelton’s approach to the “rat race” of fashion is surely unconventional but it is one that is necessary and will likely establish him as an unforgettable talent in the years to come.

  • Text: Theo Mohamed
  • Photo: Courtesy of John Alexander Skelton