Original, provocative and considered: Vexed Generation is the brand questioning everything. Born as a passion project between Adam Thorpe and Joe Hunter in the early 90s, as a direct response to increased CCTV surveillance and the Criminal Justice Bill. Their technical outerwear became a kind of armour for London's creative class. Now, thanks to the team at Byronesque an 11 piece menswear re-issue collection - replicas of the originals - which will launch globally exclusively on Farfetch.com on January 8th. To celebrate the rebirth of a brand constantly sourcing creative solutions to socio-political disruption, we caught up with the design duo behind the label to talk surveillance, streetwear and embracing mindfulness in fashion…
Hey Adam and Joe! Can you talk us through the starting point for Vexed Generation?
The beginning was 1994 during a time of anger, angst and confusion. After almost two decades of rule, the conservative government was tightening its hysterical grip as it railed against its inevitable demise – literally taking liberties from and with the British people. We set out to make London streetwear – the design of which said something about the London street environment. Vexed wanted to start a conversation with the public and to provoke dialogue between people and publics about issues that we thought were important. Our first brief was to make visible our concerns about the attack on alternative lifestyles demonstrated by the introduction of the Criminal Justice Bill…soon to become the CJA, the growing number of cameras monitoring citizens (the conservative government had a policy of funding private surveillance with public funds – that could otherwise be spent on public services like schools, hospitals or art centres – and there was no legislation governing the use of the cameras or the data they captured), also the dangerously polluted city air. We have never tried to set ourselves apart from other brands, we simply define our own path according to what we think is important….issues and scenarios in response to which we develop our designs.
VG were part of a significant moment in fashion history and became known for activism through fashion. Is this still as significant, if not more so, now? If so why?
The UK still is the most surveilled society on earth. London has some of the worst air quality in Europe and we are all still governed by the draconian legislation introduced by the CJA which continues to limit our freedom of assembly and right to protest. Civil liberties and the right to civil dissent and disobedience are threatened today more than ever before at a time when the scale and pace of social injustice and environmental degradation means we must take urgent action – together. Collaboration starts with communication. Design can communicate ideas about how we see the world and how it is or could be – of better or worse. Vexed continue to work with others towards the change we want to see. The environmental considerations have moved on, becoming ever more urgent and need to be responded to in how we live together and the clothes we make and wear. Garments that simply last a long time are no longer good enough. They have to be considered from more angles….carbon footprint, environmentally considerate textiles and social/humanitarian considerations being paramount. A new Vexed Generation will be mindful and responsive to ALL of these issues.
Forever fashion muse?
Or, Our design is socially responsive so our forever fashion muse is society
The future of fashion, in one word?
Farfetch and Byronesque announce re-issue of exclusive Vexed Generation Capsule Collection, available to buy on farfetch.com from January 8th 2019. Get a first look at the collection in our gallery below…
8 January 2019