My menswear collection, ‘Jungle Jim’, is a nod to a sense of lost childhood and the desire to be carefree and fun. ‘Jungle Jim’ is a double entendre referencing playground jungle gyms and climbing frames and my version of the Marni man whom I’ve called Jim.
Caroline Thevenau’s photographic series, ‘Seasonal Abandonment of Imaginary Worlds’, was the primary influence for my collection. She photographed abandoned ageing retro Japanese playgrounds in winter, against a snow-filled mountain-range backdrop.
Thevenau’s ability to convey a playscape paused in time, thus ripe for imagination, the evocative nature of her photographs and their sense of naivety and ethereality inspired me to create a menswear collection which subverted the notions of traditional menswear and progressed the Marni brand further. The bright and pastel colours, notably blue and pink, exhibited throughout the series, become my colour palette reference.
The name ‘Jungle Jim’ is also a botanical reference to the trees surrounding playgrounds in parks, which was my screen-printing inspiration, as seen in Thevenau’s photographs. I placed my print throughout my designs in a haphazard layered manner, as if one was lying in a park, looking back up at the array of tree branches overlapping, creating a visual frame.
I took direction from Marni’s creative director, Francesco Risso, who said, ‘I love the sense of playfulness and dynamism, in the colours, the prints and the decorations. To me, Marni is a temple of playfulness and I love that it is intelligent and against stereotypes.’
I was interested in creating a menswear collection that challenged such stereotypes within menswear – such as the use of a delicate, fine print and bold bright typically-feminine colours – while also in keeping with customary menswear designs and paying homage to the brand’s fun and eclectic sense of style. Wearability was also an important aspect when designing this collection, as Marni is known for their garment’s sense of both functionality and creativity.
So, who is Jim, my Marni man?
Jim craves nostalgia, which is reflected in my choice of soundtrack, and enjoys lying in parks
watching the clouds drift above the trees, daydreaming, one of his favourite childhood pastimes. He has a sweet tooth and is more likely to be drinking a Bailey’s than a beer. He is a half-glass-full kind of guy.
He is a grown man who hasn’t quite grown up yet, seeking creativity in an ever-growing mundane world.