Joseph Makinson

Joseph Makinson - BA (Hons) Fashion

Men Working

My graduate collection explores the unlikely relationship between workwear and mid-century couture. ‘Men Working’ is a collection of contrasts, using a blend of unconventional and traditional materials such as leather, latex, wool, and plastics. The magpie-sensibility manifests in the collection's vibrant colour palette and various textures whilst finding beauty in the mundane. 

The project began when I obtained the cult garment – the Donkey Jacket. Designed in the 1800s, it was specifically designed for labourers building the Manchester Ship Canal, until it transformed into a political symbol of solidarity during the miners strikes. The garment became a big influence within my practice, not just for its cultural significance but also the extremely simple shape and construction, yet high practicality for the worker. The donkey jacket features a heavy wool fabric and bright orange plastic yoke. This contrast in material is what I initially started to fetishise within this project, wool and latex, velvet and plastics.  

My obsession with the 20th century designers Cristobal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli are infused throughout. Balenciaga’s ability to create sculptural, feminine silhouettes, using innovative pattern cutting techniques and Schiaparelli’s experimentation with non-traditional materials embed themselves into the heart of my design and sampling process. 

Looking into my heritage, and my own personal interests, my family history in industry and manual work and my contradicting interest in art and fashion has a massive impact on my work and is an inherent part of my research process. The collection questions traditional gender lines, fusing elements of womenswear and menswear into each piece. Structured tailoring is offset by fluid textures and silhouettes present a dynamic dialogue between classic and contemporary.