Looking for a collab with a little more speed? British fashion designer and founder of the brand of his own namesake, Saul Nash just partnered with car-manufacturers Mercedes Benz on a limited capsule collection that’s a hundred miles ahead of the norm. We sat down with Saul to talk about fashion in the fast lane. From functionality to aesthetics, Saul tells all about his priority for the collection and why working with Mercedes Benz has been so natural.
First of all, congrats on your collab with Mercedes-Benz! Having followed both your work and Mercedes-Benz for years, we love the products you’ve designed for this partnership. As a car-manufacturing brand, Mercedes-Benz is substantially different to your own brand, yet your merits seem to have been combined seamlessly through your collaboration. What about Mercedes-Benz do you think partners so well with the ethos of your own brand?
What is exciting for me about this collaboration is the ability it provides to consider movement in its more broader sense. I have always admired the sleek and racing nature of Mercedes-Benz interiors and also the idea of freedom that the brand embodies. Mercedes-Benz is also a brand that many like myself may have grew up around or have seen a lot so it was exciting to be asked to join forces for SK Gaming’s 25th Anniversary.
Both you and Mercedes-Benz are known for the superior level of functionality of your designs. Did your designs as part of your collaboration with Mercedes-Benz aim to highlight any elements of functionality?
Functionality is often at the core of my designs, it is interesting that you describe a superior level of functionality. When I think of Mercedes I think of engineering, for this project I really tried to think about gamers putting myself into their minds. It really drove and lead the functional aspects for the garments within this project, thinking about their function both when static whilst the wearers are playing gamest, but also life post this moment when they are out and moving in the physical world.
Your collab with Mercedes-Benz & SK Gaming is said to tie together the aesthetics of “fashion, automotive & gaming”. Are there any particular video games that have influenced your own style?
Growing up I always played GTA san Andreas, it was my go to or Simms not only for the adventure aspects of the games but I also enjoyed the moments where you could dress and personalise the characters in your own unique way. It was really exciting to be able to explore identity though these characters from the clothes they wore right down to the way that their hair was styled.
As someone with a background in choreography, how did you approach the performance art aspect of your partnership with Mercedes-Benz? What did you want the dynamic movements of the performance to portray?
What was most exciting here is that the automotive, dance and gaming world have been absurdly put together in a way which compliments and elevates one another. I came to realise the fact that games and what can happen in them are limitless and that was fun because it really left an openness as to where we could go with the final outcome.
Whilst I wanted the movements to be dynamic and portray that of gem characters, I also wanted to create a dreamlike space through which characters are floating. Slightly referencing back to the Saul Nash brand but also evoking the feeling of how characters may move through games. It was incredible working with Justin French on this because we were really able to collaborate and bounce ideas off of one another.
Both your personal brand and Mercedes-Benz are making some huge steps towards sustainability. Was the environment something you thought about when conceptualising this partnership?
It has become essential across all of my projects to assess the impact they may have on the environment and also be transparent towards the customers in regards to communicating what is in the products. Whilst I am aware that these garments still use synthetic materials, they are a momento that is built to last.
We have source recycled materials made from ocean plastics to minimise the use of virgin material and implemented digital printing as a method to minimise the use of toxic Dying processes.
Garments are also produced in Europe in small quantities specifically for this exclusive project.
In the last few years sportswear has been elevated to a far more prestigious level as it’s been integrated with the luxury industry. As a designer behind this transition – as is seen through the garments you’ve designed for Mercedes-Benz. Do you feel that sportswear will always have a place in the luxury fashion industry? Why do you think it’s so popular now?
I think sports wear marks a change in perceptions. Whilst something that was once only for the action of playing sports or except using. I think it marks a change in the modern lifestyle. Whilst people still want to look good they also want to feel comfortable.
For me it also questions the sides of what Luxury means. Today it is a luxury to be able to feel comfortable in what you wear, for me it depends on context. Whether it be a full outfit or elements of sports piece the future thinking versatility of sportswear and its ability to straddle the line between smart and casual with the marriage of well sourced materials could potentially secure its place within Luxury fashion for years to come.
SK Gaming is a long-term collaborator of Mercedes-Benz who also got involved in this partnership. As a sportswear designer, what’s your view on competitive gaming as a modern form of sport? Do you think your own sportswear is relevant for the digital age of competitive sporting?
This is an interesting question, it is exciting for me to explore the realms of reality and access how this translates into other spaces. As my work is designed for performance I think it equally can function within the sporting Arena. I think like any other sport where you physically invest yourself into competing in teams which bring people closer together, gaming has the potential to bring people from all over and their minds together.
For me it was also important to think about how this translates outside of this into the everyday wearer. Garments become momentos almost like team shirts to be enjoyed by gamers and Fashion/ sports enthusiasts alike.
The Dashboard Jacket and Digital Gradient Top you designed for the partnership are particularly sleek and streamlined, evocative of Mercedes-Benz. Did any particular aspects of Mercedes-Benz vehicles inspire the visual aesthetic of your designs?
Certainly. I have always found car interiors quite fascinating. When I think of cars I think of streamlined. The gradient also mimics the gradient in the dashboard of the Mercedes EQE car, a sharp line that runs through the car similarly to the piping in the jacket.
Did anything in particular inspire the enigmatic blue/purple gradient colourways of your designs for Mercedes-Benz?
I think there is something digital about the gradient. I really wanted to marry the essence of Mercedes and SK Gaming in a way which elevated and highlighted the significance of this year as SK Gamings 25th anniversary. Using the colour schemes and worlds of SK Gaming which so nicely complimented the interiors of the MB EQE Car. I wanted to find a way to marry both the aesthetics of Mercedes and SK Gaming in a sleek/ elegant
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