There’s clearly something sexy in the air this fashion week. J.W Anderson was larking around on Grindr (he streamed his show on the gay dating app). And just hours later Pieter’s Sebastiaan Pieter, a NEWGEN-sponsored designer who’s known to reference homosexual culture in his work, showed a t-shirt bearing two H's. At first glance it looked like something off the periodic table. In fact it stood for ‘High and Horny’ - a phrase commonly found on Grindr profiles on a Sunday morning amongst those who haven’t got to bed on Saturday night. A few season’s back, Pieter first caught the fashion pack’s eye with a black and white knit featuring the words ‘Fun Now!’, another Grindr phase. Clearly, he’s been perusing the app a bit longer than Anderson. Elsewhere, there was a red jumper sloganed with the word ‘Cruise’. Pithy - fashion fans will read it as a nod to a season, while those with more, um, specific tastes, will enjoy such a flirtatious message.
The sexual feel wasn’t limited to the word play. All well as exploring the way men hook-up and hang out in 2016, Pieter had been looking back to queer culture of old, specifically Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1979 photograph Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter, which sees the two men arranged in a living room clad in leather with a dog collar and leash connecting them. The mundane, comfortable domestic setting is at odds with the fetishistic attire and props. It’s a apt image when considering Pieter’s brand identity. He’s all about walking the line between the everyday and unorthodox, the proper and the subversive, the nice and the naughty. His background is in tailoring, so there’s a natural conventionality that underpins his shapes and silhouettes. It’s the references and details - metal hoops, leather keyrings-cum-whips - that add something more surprising. Sounds niche? It’s not. These clothes will appeal to those outside of the gay community - particularly men who care about showing off a gym-honed physique. The intelligence of Pieter’s work comes in the fact he speaks to different audiences - London’s artistic, experimental gay scene, who will champion his work in style magazines and on social media, and, through his well cut tailoring, understated coats and neat knits, the everyman looking for something stylish but hard-working out on the shop floor.
In fact, I’d hazard to say Pieter has no desire to be a small, cult brand, even if he has a passion for subculture and the outsider. After all, Grindr has over 4 million users across nearly 200 countries - it’s hardly a small-time app for freaky fetishists. He’s speaking to an active, fast-moving and digital-savvy man. On that note, the HH t-shirt is available to buy immediately. Fast fashion, for the man who likes fast sex. How modern.