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Written by Brian James @brianjamesstyling & Leigh Maynard @leighmaynard

As we cautiously return to a restriction-free London, there remains a sense that the world we once knew isn’t recognisable – daily routines and rituals have been transformed post-pandemic, and we are reminded through nature to re-examine what is precious.

Jordan Luca chose to focus on the positive, the strength in vulnerability and the catharsis through facing trauma; how it can galvanise us to look within and discover our reimagined, improved selves. This collection is a celebration of fortitude and rejuvenation and an invitation to revere the ever-fleeting now.

Established in 2017 by Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto, the brand blends stunning Italian heritage and craftsmanship with the irreverence of British counterculture.  It’s a cross-pollination that deftly melds established techniques and contemporary vision while focusing on ethical best practices and the environment.

Past collections, such as SS21, saw Jordan Luca referencing our guarded selves through subdued palettes and streamlined silhouettes whilst harnessing the force of the pandemic for intense creativity. And where that collection focused on the power of the individual to incite change, SS22’s emphasis is on renewal, tenacity, and individuality across the spectrum of masculinity and subcultures, referencing punks, skinheads and those who parade our streets with attitude.

In the SS22 film, models strode through a used car park in a palette of white, jade green, saffron with flashes of pillar-box red, cars piled precariously around them. The collection redefined codes of masculinity, inflecting strong irreverent looks with elements of fragility. ’50s Cuban silhouettes were set against punk tones with frayed edges, kilts, bomber jackets and silk suits. Biker Jackets in white were tempered with soft floral textures, and delicate summer knits shimmered, while roses and subtle Union Jacks were appliqued onto trousers and t-shirts. It was all about jubilation, heritage, and diversity without over-sentimentality.

Video Direction & Technical Design: Hydra Design

We spoke to the designers about their new collection, how they have used this period for reflection and refinement while honing their practices to further consider the environment, and their hopes for the future with hints at exciting things to come.

Congratulations on your SS22 collection, which we loved. When we spoke after your AW19 show, you explained how you are naturally drawn to social phenomena and the human psyche. How have the circumstances of the last 18 months influenced this collection, and what else has inspired it?

Thank you! Wow, that was a couple of years ago now, and things have changed so much for us, but these themes still inspire what we do. It’s a process, and particularly through lockdown, we really refined that human element which is so core to JORDANLUCA and how it runs through our work and lives together.

With this collection, you continue to explore and subvert the traditional constructs of male fashion and masculinity while also paying homage to British iconography. What was it about this moment in time that made you want to reference distinctive aspects of British culture as part of the creative process?

I hate nostalgia because I honestly believe the best time is always now, but this process was about honouring our heritage in all its flaws and glory, reclaiming ourselves, celebrating our victories, especially over this past year.

We loved the juxtaposition of kilts, full-length skirts and wedding-train tailed suits with tops that reminded us of “Gabicci” style 70s and 80s terrace wear.  When exploring the concept of vulnerable masculinity, how important is it to reimagine certain modes of dress that may previously have been associated with stereotypical macho culture?

What we’re really talking about here is strength or at least your perception of it – what visual codes define masculinity and whether something like a skirt on a man can take that away. For SS22, we deep-dived into the traditions of the UK and our culture. The chest-beaters, dandies, skinheads, the club kids are all part of a sliding spectrum of what it means to be a real man and what it means today.

Your AW21 collection featured predominately black and darker tones, while this season features white, jade green, saffron and flashes of pillar box red.  Was the motivation for this palette change seasonal or part of the deeper message of rebirth and renewal, which seems to embody SS22?

The collections are always self-referential and a reflection of where we are at. And last winter, like many of us, was a turning point in our lives. We stripped down the colour, and even the silhouette became something much closer to us as we held ourselves tight. It was an opportunity to rethink and restructure, a kind of creative cleanse if you will.

When creating it, did the pandemic present any particular difficulties in terms of sourcing, supply chains and production. If so, how did you deal with them?

And then add Brexit in for good measure! Yes, those first few months were very difficult to adjust to, but we have a great team around us both in the UK and Italy, and we’ve adapted pretty quickly. We’re now sourcing much more in the UK, massively increasing our use of deadstock fabrics and finding innovative ways to use our own archive fabrics and styles in a way that’s fresh and forward-thinking. Adapting isn’t easy, but some things you just can’t change, so we have to throw ourselves into the centre and find fast solutions.

The fashion film which showcases SS22 was shot in a scrap yard amidst an industrial landscape. What message did you want to convey by choosing this location, and how much of a metaphor was it for the times we have lived through?

It’s about time and how precious it is, how we need to live every minute and celebrate living which is actually quite radical when you think about it.

We’re also talking about recovery from addiction which overarches our lives, and there’s something emblematic about a car crash and the sexuality associated with destruction.

 While you have fully embraced the digital format, your physical shows brought the Jordan Luca community together in a wholly immersive and inclusive way? If circumstances allow, would you like to return to staging live shows with all the immediacy and physical connection that they bring?

There’s much more democracy in the industry post-pandemic, especially in how we present our collections and the perception of luxury. Runway is just as valid now as podcasts or poems to communicate a designer’s intention. Film is an amazing way to capture the physicality of fashion, and it’s something we’ve embraced and will always be learning because creativity in film is infinite. We’ve loved exploring the medium of film, but fashion shows historically were ostentatious parades of wealth and opulence, and we all love the spectacle, so I see the future really as a smarter hybrid of the two.

In your show notes, you say that there’s strength in vulnerability and catharsis in the resolution of trauma, which could be societies mantra for the last 18 months. What ambitions and aspirations do you have for the next 18 months?

 We’re going into a new future with our eyes open with a collective sense of purpose, and I see a really exciting couple of years ahead. For us, this is about our own sustainable practice, and we’re pushing season on season. We want to continue innovating and creating a more cyclic fashion system and shifting the way we (all) look at waste. We have many projects coming up in Italy with homeware, shoes, and other collaborations, and we see Milan on the horizon, so we can’t wait to share that with you soon.

We’ve been following the upward trajectory of JORDANLUCA since we attended their AW 2018 “Angry Staffy” presentation back in January 2018 when it was part of the London Fashion Week Men’s programme. That presentation was a visceral shock to the system with models of both sexes having their heads shaved to the soundtrack of a poet who strode menacingly across the floor and whose spoken word sent chills down the spine. It was a unique experience that will have stayed with all who attended, and the brand have continued to provide us with these unique experiences as their profile in the industry has grown exponentially.

It’s a growth that is richly deserved and is testament to an authenticity which is drawn from the merging of Italian heritage with the raw intensity of the London streets. It’s an authenticity which is imbued with a desire to explore the very essence of masculinity and to reference the counterculture which is such an intrinsic part of British life. An authenticity which manifests itself in a commitment to taking a wholly holistic approach to the creative process, one which is allied with an unwavering dedication to artisanal craftmanship.

With SS22 JORDANLUCA continue to explore vulnerable masculinity in all its forms. And to examine it in conjunction with the themes of isolation and disruption that have permeated a society cast into wholly unknown territory by Brexit and then the pandemic.

JORDANLUCA are a brand for our times with a positive and empowering message that the best time is always now. If JORDANLUCA haven’t previously been on your radar the best time to change that is most definitely now. As the boys focus on a new future and exciting developments, we look forward to following them as they take these new directions, and we hope that you will want to join with us.    

Huge thanks to Jordan and Luca for taking the time out from their hectic pre LFW schedule to give us such a fascinating insight into their ethos and vision. Big thanks also to Liz at Agency Eleven for all her help.

You can connect with the brand here and on IG here

Runway Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

View the full collection below: