Edward Cuming captures the new vibe of fluidity and freedom in menswear
Madrid-based Australian designer Edward Cuming wants to eliminate the formality of classic menswear for something softer, more fluid
Whether calling or responding to the world around us, Edward Cuming sets out to take the heaviness and formality out of traditional menswear to create something that feels softer, less industrial, and sees it featured in a portfolio of emerging menswear designers in Wallpaper’s September 2022 Style Issue.
His approach is as technical as it is creative. Often guided by the materiality of clothing, he “recontextualizes fabrics, using traditionally feminine type fabrics to create a subtle, sensitive masculinity”. One process is to intensively wash the lightweight liner until it becomes “really silky and disheveled”. For the Australian designer, it has become a personal challenge to use these delicate fabrics that are difficult to handle. “They scared me very much,” he says; eventually, he developed a sense of how different fabrics would behave after treatments. “You let the fabric speak to you and stop trying to make it into something it doesn’t want to be. I love this process of transformation.
New Menswear: Edward Cuming A/W 2022
Jacket, £700; shirt, £800; sweater (around the neck), £515; trousers, £675, all by Edward Cuming. Shoes, £349, by Hereu
Her desire is to create wardrobe building blocks; ‘clean, clear and edited’. A long coat and see-through sheer vests and shorts that skim the body are not only emotional, but useful. Shirts and suits, though traditional men’s pieces, are redesigned in unsold viscose lining, washed so the colors blend into each other. “It’s a painstaking process using a humble and simple textile. Hand washing and cutting made it something really special. This intricate process is possible because the brand is still manageable in size – its team of four works from his studio in Salamanca. “We can cut 150 shirts by hand,” he says.
The notion of time particularly fascinates Cuming. Though labor intensive, her clothes seem almost fleeting, letting elusive moments slip away. “The idea of decay and aging is really what I like to see in clothes,” he says. Her A/W 2022 collection is inspired by her own adolescence and the clothes of her childhood. “The jeans, the oversized cropped cardigan, and the women’s duffle coat were based on those three pieces of thrift store that I treasured and kept since I was a kid.” Cuming carried the pieces around the world as he moved from continent to continent, from his home in Australia to Madrid, then to London to attend the Masters at Central Saint Martins, and back to Madrid . “I really wanted to immortalize them, to elevate them into something more luxurious.”
His philosophy intuitively reflects a shift towards softness and fluidity that is flourishing not just in menswear, but throughout global culture. For Cuming, it’s important that her clothes remain open to interpretation. “We discovered early on that a lot of women were tied to the pieces, as well as a niche group of male consumers,” he says, noting how his silhouettes fall to the body. “Now there’s a bigger market for people who want something a little more sensitive.” He is stimulated by the comments of friends in the creative sphere who say to him: “That’s what I’m looking for, I want something softer, more touched and less industrial. §