Stuart Brumfitt: let’s get free!

Much of fashion is about rules: what brand is hot, what trouser cut is not, what sneakers are hype, which influencers are over-hyped. So for oki-ni, I wanted to break away from all of that. In Free Xone on the 1997 album The Velvet Rope, a breathy Janet Jackson urges us: “One rule, No rules, One love, Free Xone. Let’s get free!” The track is really about sexuality (it’s the most explicitly bi on a brilliantly bi-curious album), but I think the message extends way beyond that.

For this oki-ni takeover, I wanted to work with the people and brands that I feel offer us fun and freedom through what they do. That’s why I asked the gorgeous, gifted and infectiously positive photographer Harry Carr to team up with i-D’s funny, talented and big-haired Junior Fashion Editor Bojana Kozarevic for two shoots that capture the spirit of today’s young London. Over in Milan, Sunnei’s Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina are part of a scene that eschews the city’s formal and flashy fashion codes from something colourful, stripey and carefree (their clothes feel like one big holiday to me). When I met them in Paris during Men’s Fashion Week, they were just as “sprightly” as Vogue’s Amy Verner described.

Knowing the rigour and military precision of much of what Thom Browne does, the American designer might not seem like the obvious person to choose on the theme of freedom, but it’s through his fashion shows that he exhibits his boundless imagination. Writing about his best fashion week moments, I want to remind lovers of his neat, tailored, immaculate clothes of the mad creativity of his catwalk shows.

I’ll also be looking at the work of Stella McCartney, because she’s an established part of a movement of designers offering us all freedom through the materials and systems they use. McCartney has always been way ahead of the game, encouraging fashion lovers to set themselves free of any negative ideas they might have had about ethical fashion, showing us that you can look cool and feel good about the way you're doing it.


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