Richard Malone On How He’s Redefining Success In Fashion

This London Fashion Week feels like a milestone moment for Richard Malone, who is showing his spring/summer 2022 show at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum, while also launching a new collaboration with Mulberry. “I didn’t even think you could do a show in that part of the V&A,” the Irish designer tells Vogue, a week prior to the show. “It feels very dramatic.”

Malone’s rise through the ranks of the fashion industry — which has seen him win the prestigious Woolmark Prize in 2020 and be nominated for the LVMH Prize in 2019 — has been a unique one, namely because he still operates on a predominantly made-to-order basis, and strictly limits the amount he sells to retailers. His materials, meanwhile, are either recycled or sustainably sourced from mills across the UK and Ireland. 

Richard Malone SS22.

Richard Malone SS22. 

“We don’t really do seasonal collections, so they’re always just titled at the date that they’re completed,” Malone explains. “For the last few seasons, and this season as well, we’ve shown clothes that were already sold, which never happens in [the industry]. It’s a very different way of making fashion; it’s not inventing a character or a consumer because I know them all.”

The designer’s pioneering approach has not only helped him reduce waste and establish genuine connections with his clients — who he describes as being from “a lot of very different backgrounds” — but also build strong relationships with his suppliers. “We’ve never worked with factories around the world in Portugal, Spain or Italy,” Malone says. “It’s really quite localised, so we can have a direct relationship with the tailor in Finsbury Park, with the knitter in Peckham; it’s quite easy for us.”

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