Cunnington & Sanderson
Words by Katie Farley
Images courtesy of Cunnington & Sanderson
Delivering an inspiring combination of creativity, originality, emotion, and conceptual intellect, luxury womenswear label Cunnington & Sanderson are composing their own fashion narrative for the modern and fashion-forward female. They differentiate themselves from other designers in their field; each garment is created with emotional symbolism and a story, which makes every item of clothing special. Within the brands ethos, volume, tailoring, and emotional embodiment are all fundamental qualities that are captured. Craftsmanship is a particular signature that is heavily portrayed amid Cunnington & Sanderson’s style, where an unexpected combination of sculptural silhouettes, irregular draping, and creative cutting magically materializes to illustrate something pioneering and beautiful.
“Every garment starts from a piece of cloth” explains the design duo. “The fabric is handcrafted, draped, and sculpted to create a three-dimensional form. We make our own path and do not follow trends or predictions. As a brand, we love the creative process and the unpredictability and endless possibilities of draping, which is what continues to ignite our inspiration into our work.” Far from taking the simplistic route by working from an existing garment pattern, Cunnington & Sanderson’s designs occupy many hours, days of dedication, to accomplish the anticipated aesthetic. To achieve the desired look, the duo undergoes a particularly time-consuming process that consists of constructing, deconstructing, fitting, editing, and meticulous measuring,
Before the birth of the brand, the two designers completed their fashion studies at the University of Central England, where they attained a BA in Fashion Design. A shared passion for draping ‘the new’ was developed onto the mannequin, which served as the foundation of their creative zeitgeist. Their debut catwalk collection entitled ‘Morning Weeds’ was exhibited in 2009, which achieved positive feedback that instilled a belief that there will continually be a demand & desire for garments that are innovative and individual, that radiate a superior level of craftsmanship. Cunnington & Sanderson occupy identical visions, to design and construct clothing that ignites their passions, that are provocative, eternal and stimulate the mind.
Enthused by the poignant problem of depression, ‘Occupied’ is the title of the brand’s latest womenswear collection, which seeks to encourage and inspire others by generating awareness surrounding mental health. “The concept aims to help tackle the stigma surrounding Mental health, giving hope and encouragement to others being at the heart of the narrative” explains the designers. “The emotional burden of depression is broken and worn as everyday clothes when non-conformity is celebrated and no longer hidden away.”
Tones of grey paint every garment throughout the collection, with an emphasis that it is ok not to be ok. “Constructions are not always as they first appear. A tailored wool jacket is worn in the style of a skirt with the sleeves used for pockets, sweatshirts are transformed into a gown of jumpers, and a pillow top which can be worn padded or unpadded. Detailing such as a knot which symbolizing hope and good fortune is enlarged and draped around the wearer in the knotted dress, while the laundry dress has gathered elasticated trimmings inspired by bed linen.”
New techniques are developed and learned each time Cunnington & Sanderson experiment with drape and design. They manipulate delicate materials and luxurious British wools, always ensuring they craft sustainable clothes with ethical manufacturing and minimal waste, with all garments being made in England. Awe-inspiring and forward-thinking, Cunnington & Sanderson are design pioneers, channeling the best of British design and rewriting the fashion rule book.
Photography Rafael Kroetz
Hair & Make up Sabine Nania
Model Zoe Herveva at Tune Models