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_shift meets: Olly Shinder

We sit down with Olly Shinder, CSM graduate and designer, to talk about his inspirations and joining Dover Street Market

When Olly Shinder presented his graduate collection at the Central Saint Martins (CSM) BA Fashion degree show in July, his crepe shirts, cargo pants and crewnecks created a hum in the hallways. Showing at Paris Fashion Week, this quickly amplified to a buzz on the runways where he was recruited by the French capital’s Dover Street Market (DSM) in its brand development department.

Amidst all this excitement, the 23-year-old remains as unassuming as his seemingly simple silhouettes. He picks up the phone with a warm “What’s good?” as if we were passing each other by in the CSM library. He then casually details his formal introduction to fashion, “You know, it started with visiting exhibits, internships, got myself into Saint Martins, and now landed in DSM.”

Olly Shinder photographed by Wolfgang Tillmans

The first collection from Shinder’s eponymous label can be found in DSM’s Little Market situated in Paris’s luxury district. The store was opened by the minds behind Comme Des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo – “the Queen” according to the young recruit – and Adrian Joffe in 2021. Dedicated to showcasing emerging talent, Little Market’s incubator program helps young designers launch their brands from production to press. Shinder describes it as a “great support structure that makes me feel like I’m in very good hands.” So how did the designer get started at CSM and now DSM?

Born and raised in London, a teenage Shinder found himself at the Barbican’s The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier which continues to inspire him as he hopes to bring us into his own world. He says, “My work is a little bit of a route into my head. Maybe the wearer will see the world the way I do, or they somehow relate to me, or maybe I’m bringing out something that people want to see in themselves in clothing.” He praises the Parisian couturier, “Jean Paul Gaultier is so energised. It all feels so alive. It’s got a really warm, humorous energy… It’s sexy, it’s performative, it’s funny. It does everything that I like.” Echoes of Gaultier evince themselves in Shinder’s pieces. Skin-exposing cut-outs and corset-style boning nod to the sensuality and spirit he so admires.

Gallery of close-up shots of Olly Shinder SS23 collection

These dreamy details are structured within a framework of precision and practicality picked up from his various internships. Before getting his BA Fashion Design degree, the budding designer says, “I worked under Phoebe Philo at Celine,” where he adopted a detail-oriented approach to creating luxury looks. He continues, “I was at Snickers for my final year work placement which was a real education.” The Swedish workwear brand trained him in the art of functionality. Meanwhile, his work with the Berlin-based collective GmBH, a product of the city’s nightlife scene, inspired a desire to manifest nightclub attire in an everyday context.

With all this experience under his belt – an Arc’teryx conveyor belt mind you – working under some of fashion’s biggest names led to Shinder working alongside industry giant The North Face. For his graduate show, he hoped to exceed CSM’s expectations of footwear. He says, “I would   always see lousy scrappy shoes ruining collections, so I was really determined to have strong footwear.” In defiance, he reached out to The North Face because “CSM is a name in the industry and people can use that, so I just thought fuck it. Let’s do this.”

Gallery of close-up shots of Olly Shinder SS23 collection

The product of his rebellious ambition was an adaptation of The North Face’s hiking shoes. A staple in Shinder’s wardrobe as they were “solid, chunky and suitable for raving.” Which is where his vision began, “When I started going out to nightclubs, I found myself surrounded by this group of designers and people doing fashion and design. I think that confirmed the root of people I wanted to be like.” Exploring the German city’s rave scene, Shinder discovered the sex appeal in workwear amongst queer clubgoers. These fashion cool kids can be found in the same places where prolific German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans once captured club culture. Shinder describes his SS23 lookbook, shot by Tillmans, as “very masculine, but also super queer,” he continues, “In terms of classic pieces, outerwear, workwear, there’s certain clothes which I identify as quite male.” To subvert these gendered items, he takes a fetishistic approach with structured utility vests and see-through shorts, which could as easily be seen in Berghain as in a warehouse – although what is the difference?

Model wearing Olly Shinder SS23 workwear jacket against a neutral background

A self-professed “workwear enthusiast” Shinder’s process involves, “creating clothes that pay homage to this world of function, but that simultaneously exist in a world of fashion and   creativity.” By remixing function and fashion, he explains, “It’s about elevating these things to make something which hits that right balance, I don’t want it to be too loud. I don’t want it to be too quiet either.” And he achieves this equilibrium with his daring details set in a neutral palette, manufacturing the aesthetic of a bustling Boiler Room smoking area where dusk meets dawn and workwear moonlights as fetishwear.

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