Claire Barrow

2. Claire Barrow headshot

Claire Barrow’s fashion is eccentric, provocative, and erotic. Her designs depict the interests and struggles of youth, and her collections take on the air of London’s ideological exploration on gender and sexuality. A student of the Fashion at the University of Westminster, her work brings British culture to life through her fashion. Ms. Barrow is now—more than ever—ready to show Britain’s capitol what it’s made of.

With an endorsement from NEWGEN, an organization established by The British Fashion Council and sponsored by Topshop, Claire Barrow’s freedom of expression is dually recognized. Through this group Barrow has joined the ranks of other emerging talent in the United Kingdom and is being offered financial support and exposure to international retailers and press. NEWGEN is acclaimed for launching the careers of many of the UK’s most respected fashion talent; her representation within this eminent group speaks to the significance of her work.

This Autumn/Winter 2016 Collection is the voice of youth. Barrow’s design aesthetic provokes political conversation on gender and sexuality, the type of identity a subculture is transfixed on discovering and expressing. Male models are suited up in full-length dresses with sheer, printed tights and white underwear serving as pants: these are expressions of both youthful dressing and emerging sexual identities. Feminine illustrations adorn a color-blocked pullover as its counterpart; a pair of tights, designed with a horizontal, peak-a-boo pouch suggest the model’s erection. This collection emphasizes the carnality of humanity by positioning the body lustfully and in its natural shape and form. A body-con turtleneck dress with symmetrical side-slits, a sleeveless bodice paired with fringe trousers, and an illustrated-printed full-length gown all carry the attitude of London’s subculture. All looks draw attention to her printmaking talent; developed from a palate of mute colors and ominous illustrations with monstrous figures and distorted faces juxtaposed against drawings of serene nature. Images of the British flag and black animalistic figures are printed on sheer tights. Barrow is a storyteller, her drawings and illustrations bear the thoughts and desires of youth.

2. Claire Barrow

Make-up extenuates the power of these looks. Red lipstick, rosy cheeks and burgundy face paint enhance the personalities. Barrow does not recognize the division between men’s or woman’s styles of dress. Clothing is merely a form of expression. This androgynous mien speaks to fashion’s interest in gender fluidity. But perhaps such proclamations made to define her work confines it to a box, therefore limiting the power of its influence. After all, art should never be explained.

Silhouettes, worn by male models, are simple and consistently feminine. Pullover tops, leggings and tights designed for lounging-meets-formal attire: full-length gowns, a silk dress and trousers. This is the wardrobe for the age of adolescence. Barrow’s designs are works of art. Her attention to silhouettes, colors and illustrations are at the core of her artistic mission. May it be dramatic or outlandish, she is bringing awareness to a distinct subculture through striking designs. With construction and printmaking as her strengths, Claire Barrow designs clothing with the passion of an artist. The art of design is revealed at the point where clothing becomes fashion; Barrow has reached this achievement with purity.

Text by Valerie McPhail