Emma Robinson responds to her critics by sticking to what she believes in and upholding her creative identity.
Published exclusively for The Urban Scrapbook
…fashion is a way for people to express who they are with no boundaries or limitations.
The fashion industry is a ruthless beast. It runs on cliques, influencers, and experts whose expertise comes from gambling on what’s in vogue. Much of the world’s best work has arisen from breaking out of the sea of sameness, an almost necessary birth of designers to establish themselves as individual artists. This is the ambitious realm in which Emma Robinson has found her footing, pushing aside her critics to find her identity. The result is a bold, colourful array of streetwear merged into what Emma describes as ‘sports/luxe’.
Because no one will remember you for being the same.
Fashion is a cultural exchange. It’s a conversation starter. With Emma’s latest collection, the conversation is one of sustainability and the need to veer away from the stigma of second-hand clothing and push into something fresh. Vintage and street-wear are elevated into intentional design. Drawing inspiration from a breadth of faculties such as art, architecture, nature, and pop culture, this is the beginning of great things to come.
Here’s what she had to say (the following has been slightly edited for readability):
What does fashion mean to you?
To me, fashion is a way for people to express who they are with no boundaries or limitations. It gives people a way to show the world who they are without necessarily following the regulations and norms society has put on us. It also enables people to feel comfortable with who they are, even if they are not within their own skin. Fashion enables people to almost create a second layer or doorway into the true nature of themselves, and to just have fun with your own personal style and “fashion” without anyone telling you otherwise.
When did you realise you wanted to contribute to this world of expression?
Only quite recently, actually. More so this year than anything else. Especially with my most recent collection, I had a vision and style that I wanted to express to the world to show who I am as a designer, to express my creativity and style. Sometimes my vision was not understood by others or tried to be changed, but I knew being an important collection that could possibly kickstart my career in the fashion world, I had to stick true to what I believed in, and what I wanted to express through my collection. To not let anyone else’s opinions manipulate or change who I am or what I want to showcase and express.
I wanted to show that second-hand and discarded clothes can be stylish, fashionable and desired once more.
How would you describe the vision that you’re trying to portray in your latest collection?
With my latest collection, I wanted to show that second-hand and discarded clothes can be stylish, fashionable and desired once more. By restoring, reviving and re-designing these up-cycled garments, I am wanting to show fashion consumers that clothing can have a much more extended life cycle than expected, and can be repurposed in a way that fits anyone’s style. In doing this, I am also wanting to create some form of a sustainable practice, and to address the waste epidemic that is currently within the fashion system, even if just small steps at the moment.
On top of all this, I was really trying to identify myself as a designer and brand, hence the use of my own logos, labelling and original print design. But to also show my ability and skill with digital and graphic design, with that also being a major passion of mine. I guess you could say the vision for my collection was to merge vintage, second-hand clothes, with new contemporary designs that very much channel a streetwear/sports-luxe vibe.
Incredible. I know we spoke over the weekend briefly about Virgil Abloh as one of your influences in Off-White. Both inside and outside of the fashion industry, who and what do you draw from for inspiration?
Off-White was and has been a major inspiration, from their use of style and archetypes and the very much streetwear, casual sports luxe vibe. I also very much admire and draw inspiration from fashion houses such Balenciaga, Givenchy, Vetements and I guess even a little bit of Dior, even though their style isn’t reflected as much in my latest collection. I am also very much inspired by Japanese and Korean street fashion and all the subcultures that come along with it. They always seem to be one step ahead of the fashion trends and have very interesting and unique styles.
The inspiration I gain from outside of fashion comes from things such as art, architecture, nature and even pop culture, such as anime and even K-pop.
Have you been to Japan or South Korea?
I’ve been to Japan, actually for the first time at the start of this year. I went for three weeks during their winter, and can say that I was not disappointed. Not only by the fashion but the merging of modern and traditional cultures and also the people. I’ve never been to South Korea, but it is definitely a place that I want to travel, explore and experience the culture soon.
So what’s next on your plate, fashion-wise or creatively?
I want to get into the fashion industry, to start building up my skills and knowledge. To work for a range of brands and companies so that eventually I can hopefully create my own label or brand. Whether it be actually designing fashion, being more on the graphic design side, fashion trend forecasting or even more the advertisement/campaign part of fashion. I really just want to experience what the world has to offer and to see where it takes me.
Images and artwork courtesy of Emma Robinson