Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff are the designers behind London’s most talked about, up-and-coming label, Meadham Kirchhoff. Since they subverted the predictable and swapped their androgynous, deconstructed aesthetic for candy colours, girlish gimmicks and sickly sweet details back in AW10, the style set haven’t been able to stop talking about them.
As we found out over a cup of tea in their Hackney home, despite what people think, Edward and Benjamin are not trying to be rebellious - they're just doing exactly what they want to do! No matter what's going on around them or what their detractors have to say, they do as they please. This is partly where their charm lies and is what made our design team want to collaborate with them for a second time and create a collection for spring that perfectly encapsulates their anti-fashion, visual-smorgasbord style. So if the price tag of Edward and Benjamin’s achingly beautiful mainline collection is out of your league, thank your lucky stars and get your hands on a piece from their latest collaboration quick – we don’t think they’ll be around for long!
How did you come to work together?
Benjamin: Neither of us decided we were going to work together, it really came out of ‘I hate everything and I want this and we’re going to do it.
Edward: London used to be full of people with a kind of ingenuity about them, a resourcefulness, and that’s really disappeared. People are too afraid of the consequences of being different, of the buyers, of the recession, and are making things that will sell. The more we do this, the more we realise that we should never give up.
What drives the Meadham Kirchhoff brand forwards?
Edward: We want to be independent and we want to do things in the best way that we possibly can. The presentation, the execution, the finishing, the handiwork - all of those things are really, really important to us. We’d like to be one of the few independent designers around, who manage to do what we do now but with a lot more resources, much better hands, and with as much control as possible.
Benjamin: Last winter a lot of people didn’t get it, or didn’t like it at all, but we loved it. It was both very spontaneous and very joyful, and it was so nice not to give a damn about anything and do exactly what we wanted.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Edward: Our Topshop collection is about this whole mix of finding anything that you think is lovely and not considering whether or not it’s tasteful, or valuable, or coherent somehow. It’s about coming across anything you like and thinking ‘yes!’
What drew you to collaborate with us?
Edward: We like the democratic aspect of it. That’s something that’s really important to us.
Benjamin: Essentially, they’re Meadham Kirchhoff designs but executed with the Topshop customer in mind, and I think that’s really interesting for us.
Where did you draw inspiration from for your latest Topshop collection?
Edward: There was a really early Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids reference, tones of Riot Grrrl references, My Little Pony, and every other aspect of plastic, pink, infantile-ness. The idea of girls in general, of girls being empowered by being a girl and not trying to become androgynous in pursuit of being taken seriously is what basically inspired it.
What’s the Meadham Kirchhoff for Topshop piece that every girl should have in her wardrobe?
Edward: The tinsel skirts. We think they’re absolutely brilliant! They’re totally accessible and people will be able to wear them in a million different ways. They should be quite funny, not taken too seriously – they’re totally irreverent and they’re not to be worn with any degree of self consciousness, or seriousness. I don’t really want people to wear our pieces exactly as we intended because I think they should add their own personality to them, or it’s going to look like they’re wearing them.
Benjamin: It’s actually re-assuring to try to promote this idea of freedom, and getting rid of this ‘taste’ idea. When you see people wear your things in their own way, it’s actually so much nicer.