Thursday, 14 March 2013

Mohsin AW13

"Muay Thai is a big part of my life, it keeps my mind focussed and drives that compatitive spirit inside of me," begins Mohsin Ali as we sit in his studio in the heart of East London. "Depending on seasons and work loads, I'll try and train at least four, five times a week. It's weird because I feel like a cheat if I don't! Muay Thai is like a drug. I got addicted to it at sixteen years old and to be honest I'd be lost without it!" Last summer we were offered a glimpse in to the interplay between his two seemingly disparate passions in Santiago Arbelaez's film for Hypebeast. It was a hint of the stunning things to come. For autumn/winter 13, Mohsin looks to the national sport of Thailand and its heritage.

"It is the art of eight limbs. Hands, elbows, knees and legs. It's like a game of chess, each move is as important as the next. The aim is to outwit your opponent intelligently to with the fight. Granted it's a little more lethal than chess but you get the same satisfaction of beating your opponent." As a recent hit of his favourite vice courses through his veins, it should come as little surprise that the design talent's two worlds collide so well for autumn/winter 13. It is a fight winning move that leaves this blogger out for the count. As a focused designer driven by form, fabric and function, the sport acts as the perfect foil to the designer's toil. "Muay Thai makes me think about things more, when you're training you're constantly learning no matter how experienced you are. I absorb everything like a sponge so I have to keep my mind as open as possible. This is the same approach I afford to my design work."

From built in thumb pieces to quilted linings, Mohsin Ali's debut collection for autumn/winter 11 was an exquisite showcase of the true beauty of menswear. Having been inspired by twenty first century explorers, Mohsin obsessed over the concept of integration and protective layering to create multi faceted items that blew us away. The inspiration might be different but the approach is repeated for the latest autumn/winter collection. Fuelled by his love for both traditional and technical fabrics, as well an insatiable fascination with cut and silhouette, we are once again seduced by his approach. Having watched the label grow and slowly evolve in a considered fashion since first encountering his designs, this autumn/winter collection marks a confident step forward.

Exploring sartorial notions of protection with the physical needs and demands of the sport, Mohsin produces a thirty five piece collection that plays with shape, silhouette, fabric and function. These are subtly transformative garments. Oversized quilted coats, detachable capes and belted tailoring all enable the wearer to experiment with feelings of security and presence whilst engineered sleeves with thumb pieces resemble hand wraps and typical Muay Thai shorts are repurposed in wool cashmere and styled with heavy knit leggings. The result is modern day armour. As we've come to expect from the designer, fabrics are of the highest quality whilst cut is key. Mixing both traditional and technical fabrics and by introducing embroidery, Mohsin has created a wonderfully tactile collection. The early promise of the accomplished debut has been more than fulfilled. It has been further refined and honed. Everything comes together in perfect harmony. "More than any other has managed, this collection really encapsulates my design standpoint." For this exciting talent, design should be questioned and challenged at all times and only then can you produce and create something truly special. All appliance should be for a reason. For the interested eye, the cacophony of details incessantly offer intrigue and talking points. From bondage tailoring to judo belt detailing runs subtly through many of the pieces, everything has a reason and a place.

"From Muay Thai I looked at Thai culture, the history of its dress and experimented with aspects from other martial arts disciplines, looking at how we protect and insulate ourselves. There's a wealth of information available out there but most of my research was born out of chats with the guys in the gym who are historians. A lot of the research came from two individuals in particular. Ian, who has a vast history in muay thai and thai culture in general and also Greg Wootton who is the perfect fit model. Greg is also a world and european champion at the ripe old age of 21). It's ideal for me as a lot of the younger fighters have the perfect physique as fit models, so it's great when collection time comes round. Most importantly where I train and the friends I train with are like a extended family it's always good to see them. A happy life in the gym helps me focus and think clearly when researching and designing."

Lookbook photography by David Sessions alongside my own detail shots.

"It has been a learning curve but I'm a lot more confident in everything now," Mohsin declares before taking another sip of his sweet tea. It shows. This is a justifiably confident collection. There's a daring in the design. A courage in the cloth. A certainty in the cut. A spunk in the silhouette. Ultimately it is Mohsin. His two passions stitched perfectly, his two worlds united. The personal made universal.


Domenic said...

neat stuff

xx Domenic

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Anonymous said...

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r.a.j.e. said...

Gorgeous, eye opening post. Really enjoyed the collection and learning a little about Muay Thai. Fascinating!
R x

Christina Chan said...

I found your blog through Susie & am so glad to have somewhere to go on men's fashion! In love with Mohsin xxx

Franco said...

I like those models, you can actually imagine yourself wearing them and be taken seriously. I don't like the crazy/ quirky models some designers are trying to get us to wear.

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