Irish designer Richard Malone, 26, is fast becoming London’s go-to designer for resourcefulness with no shortage of rebellion. His last two runway shows have been runaway successes of London Fashion Week; 2017 saw him shortlisted for the LVMH Prize, be commissioned by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art to create a custom piece for its first fashion exhibition in seventy years, and subsequently have said piece (a hand-crafted jumpsuit) acquired by MoMa for their permanent collection. The acquisition is one of only two fashion addition’s to MoMa’s archive in history – the other, an Issey Miyake piece in 1967.
The lifeblood of this young label is Malone’s detailed, sensitive observation of femininity. The designer cares deeply about women – about their minds, their rights, and as a result about dressing them in clothes which are at once transformative yet entirely functional.
Malone graduated from Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Womenswear in 2014, where he was awarded the prestigious LVMH Grand Prix scholarship. His graduate collection opened the year’s BA Fashion press show and was awarded the Deutsche Bank Award for Fashion, previously won by Christopher Kane.
Soon after graduating Malone launched his eponymous line with an independent presentation for AW15. Richard was then scouted by Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East – who he presented his SS16 collection with. Richard stayed with Fashion East for a further two seasons before moving on to present his AW17 and SS18 collections as part of the NEWGEN scheme with the BFC.
Malone’s unique style takes great inspiration from sculpture. Nearly all of his research is conducted primarily by engaging in his surroundings, taking much of his inspiration from Ireland’s rebellious working-class teens. In a knowingly tawdry colour palette of ‘supermarket‘ blue, green and yellow – the brazen colours he is endlessly enamoured by – Malone frequently explores what he designs as ‘weird contrasts.‘
As noted by Olivia Singer for British Vogue, ‘One of Malone’s remarkable talents in his ability to translate inspiration found in his hometown of Wexford, Ireland – this season, the diverse mix of women he would see at the local pub – and translate them into elegantly-constructed garments that are simultaneously sculptural and easy to wear.‘
Whilst progressive, the collections are deeply rooted in reality – Malone works with a number of private clients (many are art industry executives or gallerists) on one-off commissions, and as such spends much of his time developing a deep understanding of what his audience really want to wear.
Malone is an advocate for sustainable fashion. Sourcing the yarns for his collections from the Himalayas, he works with a community of female artisans in Tamil Nadu, Southern India, to hand- weave the fabrics and dye them naturally. Malone is strongly against the mass production involved in the fashion industry.