Conner Ives Spring Summer 2024 collection lookbook presented at London Fashion Week SS24.
Conner Ives, a designer straddling the millennial-Gen Z divide, is known for his acute understanding of the digital world's pulse. His latest collection for Spring Summer 2024 was inspired by a TikTok video that captured the bizarre juxtaposition of a fashion sample sale queue in New York amidst the eerie backdrop of Canadian wildfires. The video, showcasing the paradoxical blend of end-of-days ambiance and shopping frenzy, left an indelible mark on Ives. He christened this collection "Late Capitalism," not as a mere provocation but as a call to candidly discuss the economic underpinnings of the fashion industry.
Ives, a designer of his generation, considers sustainability a given, albeit one he hasn't always flaunted loudly. However, with a signature approach of resurrecting deadstock and upcycled vintage clothing into glamorous ensembles, his eco-credentials were always quietly evident. Now, driven by a growing urgency, he seeks to share the diverse methods he's adopted to pave his own more responsible path.
In the past, Ives hesitated to mount a soapbox about sustainability, unsure if anyone cared. Yet, his actions speak volumes. He has repurposed nearly 15,000 T-shirts on the brink of becoming scrap and recently forged a partnership with Depop to source bulk raw materials for production. He acknowledges the irony that his "Late Capitalism" collection, designed as a response to consumerism, ultimately aims to put more items into stores. This paradox underscores the nuanced world of fashion in the 21st century.
Let's delve into the heart of the collection. Photographed by Johnny Dufort and featuring the TikTok-favorite model Alex Consani, Ives's lookbook offers a journey through his character-driven styling. It starts with one of his "archetypes," a T-shirt and skirt adorned with a swan motif as an homage to Natalie Portman's iconic role in "Black Swan." The collection brims with references to iconic figures, from Charlotte York to Carmela Soprano and even the vivacious "woo!" girl who celebrates her birthday with friends in style.
Ives extends his creative horizons beyond his signature spliced T-shirt dresses, diving into tailoring and elevating his eveningwear offerings. Notable highlights include T-shirt dresses with 1930s-inspired trumpet skirts crafted from recycled jersey, a sheer bias-cut dress fashioned from baseball jersey material, and a captivating black halter gown cinched with a mother-of-pearl shell belt buckle. However, the collection's true showstoppers emerge at the end: a breathtakingly intricate dress meticulously crafted from 9,000 soda can tabs and a slip made from cowrie shells arranged in a bias lattice, a nod to the collection's meditation on capitalism.
While Conner Ives's designs exude a playful spirit, their craftsmanship is a testament to his thoughtful and considered approach. As he passionately states, "As fun as it is to have humor in there, I wanted to make a line sheet that I was really proud of. It might sound like an obvious or trite thing to say, but it always has to go back to the clothes."
Conner Ives's Spring Summer 2024 collection challenges the conventions of fashion while embracing sustainability, offering a refreshing perspective on late capitalism. In a world where style meets substance, Ives stands as a beacon of thoughtful design in the heart of London's fashion scene.
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