I've always been a Marant fan. Before she became a truly global phenonemon (did that time really exist?) I used to mooch around ebay France translating myself into countless bargains and a few very bad buys. I still have three utterly unique Marant pieces that I wear with great fondness and a certain sense of privilege.
Marant's early collections always felt small, personal and as if each piece was special in its own right. More than this though was her great sense of nonchalant style. I always thought this was to do with being an über cool French girl.
I once knew a Marant type girl. She wasn't archetypally pretty. Men walked past her without a second look. But women? Women adored her. Watched her every move, studied her every look from head to toe. She knew how to layer. She would spend each and every day shrugging layers on and off again. She mixed stripes with spots with denim and flowers. She mixed heavy knits with wisps of silken dresses and bovver boots. She pulled her hair back into a messy bun and then uncoiled it again so it fell into dishevelled spendour. She patted on barely pink lip gloss with bitten fingers and no mirror and managed to look thoroughly and resplendently ravaged.
We all want to be the Marant girl.
At youngbritishdesigners.com we work with some of the most spectaculary talented emerging design talent in the UK today. But there has always been room for the UK's answer to Isabel Marant. A brand that's disarmingly low-fi, a little bit mussed up, a whole lot special.
We met this brand last year. It's called Aries and you need to pay attention. This is a very special story about to enfold.
Sofia Prantera (the driving force behind cult casual wear brand Silas) and Fergus Purcel (whose boldly graphic illustrations have decorated a plethora of streetwear brands) came together in 2011 to create something new and lasting.
Aries definitely has the vibe of an early Isabel Marant with its laid back nonchalance and unstudied cool. Each piece looks immediately covetable in a forever kind of way and although softly familiar is also freshly modern.
Each small collection comprises carefully thought through and exceptionally well-made pieces created in the United Kingdom and Italy. Both designer and artist insist that their creations are entirely ethical and that no one suffers in the making of their new brand: "I dye stuff in the kitchen using organic teas and lots of things" comments Sofia.
The designs transcend seasons and exist beyond time and place. "We want people to keep our pieces for a very long time just because they're special".
We believe Aries is at the very start of a quite significant and very beautiful journey.