When Nicholas P Elliott launched his namesake label in 2013, striking the balance between the avant-garde and accessible made for a propellant mission. Over the last four years, the N-p-Elliott brand’s grown in acclaim, maintained a commitment to minimal waste and brought social messaging to the forefront. This fashion week, Elliott made the decision to evolve from a presentation to a runway show—an act that can be considered a substantial step in one’s career. The Scottish-born, NYC-based designer did so with an important message woven through the works: intersectionality. Employing only six materials—three cottons (waxed, poplin and denim) and three human-produced fibers (vinyl, printed lycra and polyester)—Elliott bound masculine attributes with traditionally feminine flourishes across pants, shorts, shirts, outerwear and a bodysuit. A casual resonance yields to uniform-like structure. And imagination is everywhere.
The collection, officially called “Intersection,” embraces intersectionality head-on. This is more so than just employing the word on one article of clothing. As Elliott shares with us, “This is not just about the theory of intersectionality, but the articulations behind it, as well. It’s about the physical ideas of intersectionality and also the intellectual thought behind it.” This isn’t presenting items that take from an underrepresented culture or identity and it’s not just making pieces for that work for everyone. Elliott’s collection aims to demonstrate the interconnected nature of social categorizations through color, pattern, form and detail. Everything is considered.
As for why he’s taken the runway route, he notes it was his desire for more control. “With a presentation, the models after an hour of standing become bored and it’s no longer the ethos of your clothes. With the runway, I can control everything in a more concise way—which I adore. The lighting, the music, the models, the walk—and of course the outfits. It’s just a lovely development.”
Inspiration strikes in a blitz-like fashion. “I think because of the internet,” he begins, “You end up on these inspiration journeys where you look at one thing and it inspires you to look at another thing and another and another. That’s how it works for me.” Whereas some designers begin with a fabric or concept, there’s no one thing for Elliott.
“It”s a mixture of all these things. I’ll find a fabric I love or a painting or a philosophical concept I want to explore. I then bring it all together.” And with the wearability of most pieces in the latest collection (the pink umbrella top might be a challenge as an every day item), he’s bringing a lot together for everyone else’s benefit.
Images courtesy of N-p-Elliott