Aitor Throup’s New Object Research

Like the elephant, it seems Aitor Throup has been carrying his baby for the longest recorded time on earth. It has been 7 years since he graduated from the Royal College of Art to which he has spent incubating the concept behind his first ready-to-wear collection, ‘New Object Research’, finally launched globally earlier this month.

Yet working in such a fast paced industry it begs the question: who would deliberately starve themselves of the end product for so long where other designers would barter with their own body parts if they could to win back an extra hour from the clock? It certainly draws my nose towards what happens behind the scenes of Throup’s unique and mysteriously long approach, when all around other freshly graduated designers every season are groping at survival. To them, this is 14 collections he is behind on. Armed with my glasses on and a quizzical eyebrow raised, I take a look.

Throup’s online biography functions as an extended CV that discusses his previous work and numerous awards he has scooped up – this in itself instantly swats away assumptions of a leisurely seven years spent. Instead we are confronted with a narrative outlining a man on a mission to eliminate the border between artist and designer. This is where we start to see the showcase of a mind swelling with innovative thinking begin.

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Like a modern day Leonardo da Vinci – notoriously the artist with a thirst for all knowledge – Throup has spent years wrapping his mind around studies of the human anatomy, philosophy and the architectural construction of fabric. This led to the artist-designer taking on projects that harmoniously amalgamate these distinct fields. Critics have lapped up the way he addresses political issues through use of innovative fastening systems and transformational features that ergonomically scope the body.

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We see this particularly so in one strand of New Object Research named ‘on the effects of ethnic stereotyping’, which is available for 360 degree view online. Creating a series of products that play on the stigma surrounding the black rucksack after the July 2005 London Underground bombings, variations of the bag scale up in size and become increasingly militarised, with the added shielded variations of police caps and balaclavas emphasising how the iconic image became misconstrued as a threat amongst hyper-sensitive commuters. The colour black also engulfs the mannequin staged against a white backdrop so that terror becomes the sole event of the representation.

It may have taken 7 years to get here, but it seems the designer has finally found the key to mastering a successful route for New Object Research and its range of 23 ready-to-wear pieces.

AITOR THROUP NEW OBJECT RESEARCH 2013 CATALOGUE VIDEO.

New Object Research stockists include Dover Street Market, London, and Atelier, New York.

Words: Laura Yuen