Something slightly different today in the form of a new women’s clothing venture between freelance designer Sofia Prantera and renowned illustrator Fergus ‘Fergadelic’ Purcell. Taking clothing production to its core, Aries has already been well-received with its combination of hand-finished garments and organic pattern motifs. First, however, a little about the driving force.
Prantera is a freelance designer based in London who started out designing for Slam City Skates before going on to direct and design the renowned skate label Silas, as well as Maria womenswear. Now a heavyweight in the field, recent clients have included Lee Denim and You Must Create (Y.M.C.). It is, therefore, safe to say that Prantera brings a lot to the table in the partnership both creatively and professionally.
Purcell, ‘Fergadelic’ heretofore if only because it’s so fun to say, has a different story, and one that is somewhat harder to piece together by nature of his total immersion within his work. Fergadelic has been doodling for the larger part of his life – it emanates from his character so much, from the jumble of doodles creeping up his forearms like a fleshy notepad to the sensory explosion that is his home, and its precisely that relentless creative passion that he brings to the table. Oh yeh, and you know that triangle ‘Palace’ logo that everybody seems to be wearing nowadays? Yeh, that’s his, so he clearly knows a thing or two about what looks good.
Taking inspiration from his first comic book collection of 2000A.D. before discovering French illustrator Moebius, Fergadelic’s work is often distinctly cartoon-esque, whilst the lasting impression of George Clinton’s futuristic funk extravagance (hence the sly P-Funk reference in his pseudonym) is present in his whacky designs and tongue-in-cheek flips on pop culture. He also relates his love of the graphic t-shirt to its status as the ‘medium of communication in the Theatre of the Street’, which is just beautiful, so you should love him already.
Within Aries, therefore, is a combination of the precise and calculated manner of Prantera’s disciplines and the free-spirited whackiness of Fergadelic – the two have, in fact, worked together for Silas before, but without even the ‘streetwear’ tag being applied, they take full advantage of the liberation granted them.
It’s a strong first collection, with loosely fitting tops and drainpipe trousers holding the fore. Classic motifs such as paisley and polka dots are iterated in ‘washed-out’ colours, with even the tie-dye offerings, that are somewhat ‘safe’ by current trends, appearing heavily-bled and exhausted like watercolours. Combined with the photography and styling, there’s an overall no-wave vibe – the model could very well be Chloë Sevigny back in the day – and the rugged, tattered bottoms continue the grunge tones right to the end. There is also a small selection of t-shirts with designs by Fergadelic, but ‘The Tiger’ is about all I need to say to sell you that aspect. I instantly liked the ‘Aries Pagans’ print. There’s something about that which sounds badass, and I don’t care who disagrees.
I liked the collection when I first saw it online, and this lookbook hasn’t changed that. The ideas are a bit safe in some respects, but when women’s fashion is so heavily obsessed with change and revolution (unlike many of its male counterparts), perhaps it’s good that there are people out there just trying to do the known stuff well, just better. Perks & Mini and WoodWood notwithstanding, most womenswear is intrinsically ‘girly’ – if not, then it’s ‘tomboy’. In the 21st century, surely, we need more recognition of a centre-ground that allows women to look good without necessarily pandering to a gender dichotomy, and this is where Aries shines – it’s distinctly feminine, but as a character trait and not a definition.
It’s nice to have somebody compliment your top before seeking confirmation as to whether ‘top’ was the correct phrase for such a geometrically-confounding design, but sometimes it’s nice to just wear a top and some bottoms. Aries makes nice tops and bottoms, so if you like tops and bottoms that are nice, maybe give them a try. See how easy that was?
Aries’ first collection is available now, Goodhood being the UK’s exclusive stockist. Expect more deliveries through Summer and hope for more releases in the future. You can also check out their own website for a lighthearted look into the minds of its founders. Peace.
Photos courtesy of the guys over at Fucknfilthy.