Ten Meets Samuel Slattery, The Young Designer Subverting Masculinity With Every Stitch

London-based designer Samuel Slattery isn’t scared of the alpha male. Proclaiming the intent to create “deviant clothing for the individual”, the CSM-grad takes hyper-masculine shapes and gives them a much-needed coat of paint – one coloured by daintiness and vulnerability. Inspired by the complex recipe used to create a macho man perception, Slattery’s pieces address all the extreme forms this can take. From motorbike-mounting, leather-clad tough guys to protein-scoffing testoster-bros who consider giving unwanted advice on TikTok a hobby, nobody is safe from the young talent’s shrewd eye. With this aversion to machismo, the male gaze feels liberating when it’s lensed by Slattery.

Initially making clothes as a form of self-expression, Slattery moved to London for university in 2018, catalysing his desire to explore what else he could dissect with fashion. “It was a huge breath of fresh air taking in the plethora of cultures and ways of dressing,” Slattery recalls. “I started experimenting with making my own pieces, and through various internships and immersing myself in London’s party scene, I realised it was the perfect language to showcase my vision of masculinity.” When asked why this focus is so attractive to him, the creative notes, “It’s ultimately an act of bravado between males. My stepdad was one of them, a carpenter who had a collection of motorbikes, and it shaped me profoundly in how I dress and present [myself]… It’s an aesthetic that gets pushed to the extreme to its own detriment. It makes me want to flip it on its head and surprise people by showing them a macho aesthetic but subverting it with delicacy, softness, and compassion.”

For his latest collection, entitled Flâneur, Slattery took this focus and called upon the idea of exploring new horizons to update it. “Echoing the idea of a teenager leaving their parents’ home for the last time, I wanted to explore what clothes he might need if left to his own devices,” Slattery says. “Utility and function are important, but so is comfort and a sense of protection. I wanted to reduce and refine the garments, and focus on their shape and texture.” As a result, Slattery sent out a masterclass in translating the spirit of youth through clothes, equipped with his signature twist. Taking its name from a French term used by 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire to mean a leisurely glutton that laps up the finer aspects of urban life, Slattery’s inversion of hyper-masculinity was present from conception to finalisation. Expertly tailored slacks were brought to life with shiny purple chrome, perfect for strobe-mottled dance floors and a skin-tight top was given a boxy shape by one tight bandage that took the place of traditional sleeves. It felt tempting, innocent and fresh all at the same time – as if young adulthood was wrapped up in fabric.

The young talent’s approach is well-thought-through and his subtle silhouettes aren’t accidental. Speaking on how he develops his carefully structured shapes, Slattery says, “Hypermasculinity means nothing if you can’t also be vulnerable and let your guard down. Through the hand-made techniques I use, the cut of the garments, and their fabrication I try and reveal these softer sides of masculinity – that the more multifaceted and nuanced, the better. To me being vulnerable is not being afraid to be authentic, to show what you like, and to wear it with pride.”

Speaking to Slattery makes you realise how down-to-earth he is. His desire to make clothes and the way in which he does so feels genuine, adding an extra layer of likeability to his utterly creative pieces. When asked what his favourite thing about making clothes is, Slattery responds, “The ability to make someone feel beautiful and confident. If I can make one person feel better about themselves, and see themselves in a different light, that’s all that matters. Creating a universe based on fabric, silhouette, and attitude, and translating that into a garment, is something I’ll never get bored of.”

Designers like Slattery give fashion fans hope for the future. The industry can oftentimes overspill with ponce and ego, but true talent and humble goals are what cuts through all of that. “For me, clothing is inherently Baudrillardian,” states Slattery, “every garment you wear is a sign to communicate something about yourself to somebody else. But more than that, I want you to feel like you can dress however you want to, regardless of your class or background, or the role society might expect you to play. It’s a message of radical self-acceptance.”

With an ethos like this, Slattery already has a solid foundation for success. Having recently secured a menswear job, the designer is taking a bit of time to himself before recommitting to the growth of his eponymous label. This doesn’t mean his vision for it has faltered though, with Slattery positing, “In five years I would love to have my own loyal customer base so I can keep on doing my brand forever. I don’t have any set goals for my brand per se, I just want to keep on creating and making work that I love. I want my collections to celebrate deviant individuality and the underground – throughout my life I’ve often felt like I didn’t belong, and through clothing, I want to create my own tribe, that hopefully others see themselves in too.”

Despite being in the early stage of his career, Slattery is proving he has something valuable to say and that he has the skills to say it. As for that “tribe” he talks about? Slattery can count on Team 10 to be fully committed to the cause.

Photography courtesy of Samuel Slattery. 


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