The 9 – 5 future looks bright at A‑COLD-WALL*

Founder and creative director Samuel Ross predicts a post-pandemic work-from-work outlook, and it’s as optimistic and liberating as we’d hoped. But, like our path to freedom, it’ll take some time to get there.

A‑COLD-WALL* has modelled itself as future fashion since its outburst in 2015. But in a time of limited human interaction, founder and creative director Samuel Ross makes no mistake of channelling our current longing for even the simplest of fleeting moments from way back when. His AW21 collection, presented through a stimulating film, intertwines two distinct moods: a zen calm and frantic hostility, both portraying strong messaging around collective social consciousness, as seen in his past collections.

This season Ross explores the world post-vaccine, as we walk side-by-side to our 9‑to-5s, clutching functional hold-alls and wearing slouchy trousers – an optimistic nod to future office wear, one of liberation and new beginnings.

But as the mood shifts from warm to cold, still to frantic, the film encapsulates the rickety roller coaster that the UK, and the world, has been strapped into for the past year. Entering the void are models dressed in the purest white, with Ross humanising luxury menswear through ribbed loungewear, a functional mac and comfort-first shorts cut to the knee. Interspersed is the brand’s signature, steely outerwear, coated in silvery greys, and stark black protective gear, like padded utility vests and skull-consuming bucket hats worn with face-covering hoods and face-shielding thick, dark frames.

Mid-film, the mood drops. With the CCTV-style, eagle-eyed camera cuts following models, zooming into their slightest movements, there’s an eerie sense of voyeurism. The choreography saw models bumping into each other, zombie-like, unaware of their surroundings. It seems a fitting tribute to daily life a year ago, being watched, motionlessly scrambling to our next appointment. But not quite as mundane. Rather, meditative: calming orange, ornate gold slicked onto a racing jacket and icy blue, high-waisted trousers. Ross wants his wearers to be seen in the crowd, and to feel a sense of serenity more so than ever before. Whenever that will be.

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