Maison Des Métallos sits at the end of an alley in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Formerly home to brass instrument factories and manufacturers, the industrial architecture of this space is perfectly apt for the Spring Summer 2017 collection from Andrea Crews, titled – oh so perfectly – WORK IN PROGRESS.
Vaulted ceilings covered entirely in glass window panels, the early summer Paris heat envelops the venue and a small Mexican-wave of fanning hands ripples across the seats. WORK emblazoned on the t-shirt-come-minidresses of the staff, manifestation flags branded with Andrea Crews line the far wall, though the usual theatrics of the brand appear to be missing thus far.
Soon the workers descend onto the catwalk and we see the Up-Cycle, that has been such a staple of the designer, embrace the most ordinary of fabrics and transform them into a visual protest. Inspired by the instantly recognizable “worker uniform” colours, the collections uses predominantly white, blue and fluorescent orange twisted into modernity. Ripped and bleached denim jackets, paired with bright blue woven canvas sheet jogging pants and simplistic t-shirts, En Greve, meaning On Strike, caps and “worker boots” make their way down the catwalk, worn by both men and women in a genderless strike against conformist fashion and the ways in which we’ve previously viewed these fabrics. No longer to be considered as basic, it is with the attention to the smallest of details – flattened denim seams, distorted collars and hi-vis trimming – that the garments elevate the textiles used, taking them away from the rudimentary and throwing them in line with the Andrea Crews manifesto – that values are meant to be worn.