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Liam Hodges Is Crafting a World of His Own

Liam Hodges’ observant nature and sincere study of human interaction with the world has made him a favourite of luxury fashion and underground aficionados. His defining power is seeing what we’re collectively fearful of and weaving those tropes together with a vision of the future to offer positive escapism. “I want people to engage with [the clothes] and not just wear them because they’re hype… I want the collection to be positive for people.”

A storytelling approach to design

The Royal College of Art graduate is famed for his industrialised aesthetic, which is a patchwork of Mad Max tribal accents, folkloric English paganism and recontextualised streetwear. Despite such disparate, loud ideals, Liam’s attention to detail and sensitive approach enable a contemporary reworking of anti-establishment sentiments. “When we did the collection about pirate radio, we were really interested in how people who were just doing what they wanted to do can be authentic and what that means.”

Stories are extremely significant to Liam in their ability to relay the defining principles of multiple characters’ lives. Accordingly, his collections are stories of moral fibre, repurposed onto bodies; garments become chapters and the wearer is a walking piece of revolutionary prose. “A lot of our aesthetic is based in collaging; collaging our research together, collaging our stories together and creating our world and our version of something.”

Liam’s candid approach to morality becomes a leading theme in his design approach, illustrated in the simple pursuit to eschew luxury fabrics and the gaudiness of money without substance. “We describe the brand as having a modern idea of what aspirational means, so it’s kind of like moving values away from just money-based values.

Creating a sense of escape

Often heralded as a designer who is unafraid of depicting a dystopic future, Liam is clear about how he presents a reality tinged with realistic fears. “I think the fear is just to remind people what they’re doing and why they’re here… I feel like that’s what kind of makes it feel a bit real.” By confronting those fears, Liam presents his tribe with the power to depict an antidote to our present-day environment. “We’re not standing there holding placards with like ‘the end is nigh’ on them, or preaching verse from the bible or whatever on the catwalk… It’s acknowledging that the world is a bit fucked, but we can still carry on and it’s offering someone a sense of escape.”

Rather than using each season’s collection as a pulpit, Liam’s design principles envision a future that encompasses what is traditionally pertinent and presently visible. “I found [folk culture] really fascinating when I started doing my graduate collection… It’s kind of like if my friends and I started a morris dancing troupe - how would we do it in terms of starting one in the future or now?” Driven by the sensibilities of his English heritage, Liam continues to develop his craft into a contemporary commentary of where we’re headed together, skilfully merging who we used to be and who we currently are as a society.

Words by Bwalya Newton
Photography by Maxwell Thomlinson