Jay McCauley Bowstead
Menswear in Motion: The Transformation of Contemporary Men's Fashion
Over the past 15 years menswear has transformed from an obscure and uncelebrated discipline to become a vital and vibrant field of design, one that now boasts its own fashion-weeks, blogs, influential boutiques and magazines and enjoys a seemingly inexorable rise in sales.
This study of contemporary menswear draws attention to the radical changes that have occurred in men’s fashion over the past two decades, and which continue to this day. By exploring the work of a group of innovative designers at the turn of the millennium – including Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane, Tom Ford and Ennio Capasa – the text explores shifts in menswear in terms of fabrication, form and silhouette. Tracing the influence of these seminal practitioners to the present day this ‘contemporary history’ makes a claim for men’s fashion as a site of formal experimentation, communication and contestation. The text concludes with an analysis of recent collections from Lucas Ossendrijver, Juun J, Neil Barrett and Damir Doma: a characterisation of the ‘state of the art’ that also gives a flavour of the materiality, excitement and effervescence of contemporary menswear design.
School of Humanities
MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014
My writing frequently starts from a close engagement with a design object. As well as seeking to convey the tangible and aesthetic properties of design, I also attempt to communicate how meaning and conceptual content is bound-up or woven-in to the process of making. This approach has informed recent pieces of work including an essay focusing on the covers of ARK magazine (ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950–1978, Royal College of Art, 2014, pp.5-8), as well as current research focused on the construction of masculinities in contemporary menswear. My published work includes the article 'Hedi Slimane and the Reinvention of Menswear', which was first produced as a first-year project and will be published in Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion in early 2015.
With a background in fashion, design continues to strongly influence my writing through a focus on materiality and the aesthetic qualities of art and design objects. I began teaching design students in 2009, and I am the author of the educational manual A Guide to Preparing Your Portfolio, published by Bloomsbury in 2011.
I continue to teach at both the Working Men’s College and the University of Hertfordshire, where I was module leader for Critical and Cultural Studies for Level 4 Fashion this year. In the future I plan to continue to explore ideas relating to design, fashion, menswear and masculinity in my writing, while maintaining the sense of energy and excitement that teaching brings to my work.
- BA Fashion, Kingston University
- Module leader, Critical and Cultural Studies, BA Fashion, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, 2013–present; Pathway leader, Design, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Working Men’s College, London, 2009–present; Visiting tutor, Fashion Foundation Diploma, Working Men’s College, London, 2011–2012; Freelance designer, Spinexpo Trend Exhibition, London, 2010; Freelance designer, Design Workers, Seoul, 2009–2012
- 'Hedi Slimane and the Reinvention of Menswear', Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2015 [forthcoming]; 'ARK Magazine: From Cover to Cover, ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950–1978, Royal College of Art, 2014, pp. 5-8; 'Fashion, Flux and Fantasy: The retail space as a site of cultural exchange', Ends Meet: Essays on Exchange, Royal College of Art, 2014, pp.204-14; 'Bridget Riley: The Sea and the Sublime', As is the Sea, Royal College of Art, 2014, pp.18-25; A Guide to Preparing Your Portfolio, Bloomsbury, 2011