There are a few words and phrases that crop up again and again when stumbling across previous Matthew Miller collections, or articles about the Stoke-born, London-based designer. Anti-establishment is one of them, political another. The latter, in particular, seems to be the buzzword du jour within the fashion industry, with designers around the globe using their platforms to illustrate their view on the world’s current political affairs (Ganni SS18 was the latest).
But Miller has been doing this ever since he began, first making his mark on the British fashion scene with his Royal College of Art graduate collection in 2009. It’s not a trend for Miller, or a ‘fashionable’ way to act but a cemented viewpoint that manifests itself in the biannual collections for his eponymous line. Look back four years, for example, when in 2013 Miller told Dazed: “I think I’m massively political and philosophical in what I do. I actually do believe that they are just fucking clothes.”
Or to just over a year ago, when he told Hero magazine in no uncertain times why the UK should stay in the EU, mere days before the Brexit vote in June 2016: “There is actual no valid reason for leaving, just right wing extremist views on migration and employment and unemployment and general. When a migrant comes to these shores with no training and not being able to speak the language, takes your job…good on them, as you’re just basically shite!”
Miller isn’t afraid to make his views known and uses clothing as a way to do that as much as he does through his interviews and the images uploaded to the brand’s Instagram. Take the Matthew Miller AW17 collection (which, incidentally, has just landed on Coggles). Entitled Fear Itself, this was a collection designed for the young generation living in a world of political unrest; the result of choices made by the generation that came before it.
Khaki backpacks and black bomber jackets ruled the runway, as did deconstructed shirting and draped ceremonial scarves. A uniform of city survival wear, of clothing built to secure oneself over what’s happening now, and what’s yet to come. In the new collection on Coggles, expect those aforementioned shirts, heavy leather jackets and tailored coats that evoke a sense of armoury, and sweaters covered in a dripping ‘MM’ that eludes to those famous golden arches (the poster child for 21st century capitalism), more so than Miller’s initials.