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A-COLD-WALL* - The Protector

2020 International Woolmark Prize finalist


UK-based label A-COLD-WALL* is deeply rooted within the practices of modernity, architecture, industrial design and minimalism. Founded in 2015, designer Samuel Ross places priority on engineering forward-thinking proficient garments that embody these themes.

There is a circular paradigm in the way Ross applies his considered methodologies. Respective disciplines of fashion design, sculpture, sound design, living space and art installation inform one-another for his works.

For the International Woolmark Prize, A-COLD-WALL* has researched the industrial techniques and uniforms encountered at various stages of the wool manufacturing process. Analysing workers garments and the organic transformations of fabric, A-COLD-WALL* has created a collection of ergonomic, elevated and functional wool clothing.

The project is divided into three elements, each containing two looks that represent and illustrate the narrative of a woollen garment.

A-COLD-WALL_LOOK-3.1.jpgA-COLD-WALL_LOOK-3.2.jpg

The initial element of the project begins with ‘sheep shearers’, embodying the tactile, manual process they carry out to obtain a raw material and signify the beginning of any wool product.

Providing a common thread for the collection is the needle punch technique. Manipulating two materials by repeatedly punching the needle through both layers, the fibres are drawn to the surface, transferred from one fabric to another to achieve a mottled like gradient through the outer surface. Inspired by what shearers wear, A-COLD-WALL* has created a protection-coated wool fabric laminated with a transparent external film that forms a protective barrier on the fabric surface.

“The classic double-breasted jacket and wide leg trouser are modernised by our material innovation, allowing the garments to be worn as a singular two-piece suit without fear of adverse weather conditions.”

A-COLD-WALL*


The second element to the project explores the transformative space of the ‘dye house’, with a particular focus on the physically demanding roles that constitute it.

“We have created an elevated wool jacquard topcoat with dappled, tonal patterns mimicking the heavily watermarked uniforms of dye house workers,” explains Ross.

“The second look is a reinterpretation of a base-layer compression suit. The separate garments are constructed from tightly knitted Merino wool, designed to protect workers’ skin with the inherent qualities of Merino, whilst contrasting knitted lines highlight the body’s circulatory system.”

The final element examines the ‘eaver’ and the meticulous craft and complex artisanal skills associated with weaving fabric.

“We have taken a neoteric approach to a menswear classic to create a technical 100% wool suit. The transparent internal membrane on the backside of the lightweight fabric adds showerproof and windproof qualities whilst retaining the breathable nature of wool.”

Taking design cues from traditional suiting, A-COLD-WALL* partnered with Italian mill Vitale Barberis Canonico to apply technical wool fabric to established shapes - from classic lapel angles to shaping of the finished silhouette - which allowed the label to create a formal aesthetic that belies a practical constitution.

“The classic double-breasted jacket and wide leg trouser are modernised by our material innovation, allowing the garments to be worn as a singular two-piece suit without fear of adverse weather conditions.”

Lightweight 100% virgin wool yarn is woven in a classic twill construction, reminiscent of decades past. Once woven, a PU membrane is laminated to the reverse providing waterproofing and wind resistance, whilst retaining the natural breathability of wool. A PFC/ fluorocarbon-free water repellent finish is applied to the front-facing fabric for augmented weather protection.

“Through our ongoing material studies, we are able to produce this timeless suiting look with unprecedented resilience to the elements.”

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