This profile is taken from my interview with Liam alongside research of his label, the profile seeking to understand what makes his designs. Liam Hodges is a menswear designer currently showing as part of the MAN platform at London Collections: Men. His clothes are functional and actually wearable whilst still impressing and expressing.
Name: Liam Hodges
Hometown: Rainham, Kent, UK
Background: Middle of the road, Middle Class
Art Foundation: University of the Creative Arts/KIAD Rochester
Fashion Design BA: Westminster
Fashion Design MA: Royal College of Art
Jonty Mellmann: A lot of people relate your clothing to British culture: would you say the British influence is what sets you apart, the recent resurgence of British fashion helping that?
Liam Hodges: I'm not sure if it was directly a reaction to that. I guess Britishness is just something that I really connect with- and I guess I try to portray what I think it is rather than the usual UKIP bollocks you see everywhere. Maybe thats why I mix in so many other things to make the narrative/stories behind each collection.
JKM: So it’s safe to say that your clothes tell narratives?
JKM: So, for your SS15 collection, the narrative’s starting point was the Kibbo Kift movement and their leader White Fox (John Hargreaves). Was there a particular reason you chose to look at them -be it the socialist politics of the group or something else?
LH: Originally I was quite fascinated with their craft: their hands on, almost DIY approach to what made their community and also its position against the militarised scout movement. Once I learnt more about their politics it was interesting to learn about how they became something less pure and eventually outlawed. I didn't get a great amount from those politics myself, but the story of something young and pure becoming and changing was definitely part of the idea behind the collection and the show.
Illustrations by Jonty Mellmann
JKM: Alright, so is this darker aesthetic part of who you design for- a specific Liam Hodges customer or character?
LH: The research informs the character, they are usually quite similar in many respects, but with different stories to tell each time. The customer I also try to think about more now. Before I just wanted to make whatever worked and maybe I liked it, but as I try to develop it into more of a business I do have to think about commerciality. Though, not for everything- just a few pieces that fit the story and idea but are perhaps a little easier to wear.
JKM: It has been said that you are a 'cultural overeater', referencing the Dead Kennedys to DMX. Would you say this helps the clothes relate to more people, making them easier to wear? Or, perhaps, to challenge a one-dimensional view of people and their taste?
LH: Personally I think it’s a reaction to the times and information age. Stereotypes suck- they’re a weak attempt to group people together. A subculture on the other hand is something we see less and less of. However, I think the information we have now means that people don't have to belong to one subculture, but can draw aspects from many to define themselves.
JKM: Yeah definitely. Similarly, with showcases -be it at Fashion East or wherever- you cut through a pretty bleak homogeneity with your displays: such as a group of models/your mates sitting around watching TV for SS14 . Is this purposeful -so that you stand out- or are you simply showing the clothes in a relatable context?
LH: I don't feel the need sell a fake idea of an aspirational dream of grandeur that doesn't represent me or the brand. To me those moments, actions, friendships and connections are aspirational.
JKM: Awesome, man. Thanks for your time.
Liam Hodges is stocked at Primitive London, Machine-A (London) and GR8 Tokyo.]