When I first discovered edward meadham’s clothes, it would be really no exaggeration to say that they changed the way I view the world. I’ve talked long, hard, and probably bored everybody around me to death discussing how first seeing A Wolf in Lamb’s Clothing, (Meadham Kirchhoff’s SS12 collection) — via my Tumblr dashboard — felt like the stars aligning. But, seeing all my interests represented so perfectly, in one place, helped me realise that the worlds of fashion, feminism and girl culture didn’t have to clash so aggressively.
Anyone who was active on Tumblr from 2010-2014 will know I wasn’t the only one who felt edward’s clothing represented the things many of us felt. From DIY tutorials to individual interpretations of the clothing and zines made in homage to Meadham Kirchhoff collections, the label felt — despite the price points — as if it was something for us. Something authentic, genuine and so blatantly different from a fashion industry that seemed to so often dismiss, tokenise, or cash in on our interests.
Now, after a two year break and closure of the label, edward meadham is releasing a selection of “bits and bobs”, Blue Roses, with Dover Street Market— his first independent outing since 2014. More wearable than marabou coats or cake shoes, with Blue Roses edward hopes to create something for those who love his work, with affordable price tags and clothing that can be worn day in, day out. Comprising of t-shirts, hoodies, cuffs, collars, sleeves and stockings, adorned with graphics inspired by Riot Grrrl imagery and old Hole flyers, the project addresses girl culture more directly than before. Complete with a mini-zine style swing tag and fold out poster, these are items that mean the clothing he creates can have a place in our wardrobes and on our walls, as opposed to just our online platforms.
Below I talked to edward about Blue Roses, diversity, democratic design, and the type of women he wants to make clothes for…
Who do you want to wear Blue Roses?
edward meadham: Well, I don’t feel like fashion represents my culture, or the people that I’ve always wanted to talk to, and who used to like what I do at all. Culture and fashion culture completely talks down to girls and weirdos, and I wanted to just make something that they would be able to afford to buy but also wear very easily. I was asked to do t-shirts — that’s a good thing for me because t-shirts are a very generic, blank canvas, and there’s no exclusivity. When I used to make lovely dresses, not only that they were fucking expensive so therefore people couldn’t really wear them but also they’re not that easy to just wear on a daily basis and live your life in because they were so delicate and so precious. I made them that way, but a t-shirt is the most democratic garment possible.
With so much of the people who love your work being young women and girls, why did it then become important for you to directly address them?
edward meadham: I thought about it in these years since I don’t do my old label anymore. It seems such a shame and illogical that there are all those people that used to love it that couldn’t. And the people that did wear my clothes were not the people I’m interested on any level. I don’t want to meet them. So it seemed like an illogical schism of who I was really talking to and talking about, and then there’s this other creature which were actually the ones who got to see my work and buy it and have anything to do with it in reality.
When did you become aware of that?
edward meadham: I guess I became aware of that a little bit after it started happening, people started showing me blog posts and all these things on Tumblr. Tavi (Gevinson) showed me a lot of it. A girl made a zine in America about A Wolf in Lamb’s Clothing, and my work just seemed to touch all these girls that I don’t think fashion normally really does touch. They seemed to understand what I was really meaning from it.
Why was it important to you to photograph the clothing yourself and create imagery to accompany Blue Roses?
edward meadham: Because I’ve never been interested in only making clothes. It’s more about a whole idea of a way of dressing, a way of thinking of dressing and a way of presenting everything. That’s why the Swing Tag isn’t just a square of cardboard with a name printed on it.
So then, with the images you have created, the photoshoot is hyper unrealistic and fantastical.
edward meadham: I’ve always been a big contradiction.
Images such as the ones you’ve produced with the Blue Roses shoot — or your pictures for Polyester — a lot of people would perceive anything that has that much alteration to be negative.
edward meadham: They’re just images, they’re not supposed to be reality. I’m not really interested in reality. I just don’t like basic models. I do think it’s a contradiction but at the same time I don’t care.
But then why did you want to be diverse with your casting choices?
edward meadham: I wanted to be diverse because I didn’t want to only address a specific vision of human. I think we’re all aware that we have spots and blemishes of any nature. By not seeing them in an image doesn’t mean that it’s not fine and normal that we have them.
You’ve previously said that you hate pseudo-political fashion. But it seems as though to a certain extent you must be trying to put your own ideas of what you want the world to be out there, becauseof the love/hate list on the Blue Roses swing tag…
edward meadham: What I hate is when it isn’t there and it’s been attributed to it. I don’t hate when people do have something to say and maybe I sometimes have something to say and sometimes less so. This wasn’t intended, the casting or the garments, weren’t intended as any kind of real political message. My whole belief structure and morals come from a place that is not inherent to the fashion industry and often has been in opposition to what is expected of it. I’m always pretty opposed to everything in our world, so everything that happens and I see.
What I hate is when you see designers who do these big shows with big houses in Europe and there’s no message that I can see, or feels intended, yet because journalists get so bored, they want to discuss that there’s some kind of faux feminist idea about it or gender-pushing that isn’t there.
What type of girls, women and people are you interested in making clothes for generally?
edward meadham: I like people that like pretty things, who like dressing up, who understand the power of dressing — how it can make you feel and how people can react to you, which can often be very negative. We can get so much shit for the way we put ourselves together. I mean me, but I also mean other girls and people and creatures around me — but honestly I think that’s kind of a good thing. It’s better to upset people with your appearance and to not adapt yourself to fit into these other people’s ideas of how we should be.
I like confrontational and slightly awkward and weird people that have never really felt beautiful in the way we’re supposed to. I’ve always said what I did was for ugly people, and I don’t think they’re ugly but that the world thinks they’re ugly. Well they can fuck off, and we can decorate and paint ourselves in whatever way we want. I don’t mean we all have to walk around in pastel, fluffy things. I think that’s still most people’s idea of me and what I did, but I don’t think it was ever only that. But it can be that.
We can be girls and we don’t have to be upset about it. The rest of the world needs to adjust itself to us, and not the other way around.
Words by Ione Gamble. All imagery by edward meadham.