Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Friedrich Gray wins Woolmark New Young Designer Award

“Ben Pollitt of Friedrich Gray is part of a new breed of anti-fashion designers, he mixes androgynous styling with wit.” Belinda Seper

On Tuesday 4th March, Ben Pollitt of Friedrich Gray was announced as the winner of the 2008 LMFF Designer Award presented by Woolmark and supported by VOGUE Australia at a special presentation during the Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival at Central Pier.

Woolmark presented Ben with a $10,000 cheque and commemorative award. Ben will also be flown to either Pitti Filati in Florence or Premiere Vision in Paris as a guest of Woolmark, who will host and introduce them to their network of contacts including mills and fabric suppliers.

Pollitt comments, "The Friedrich Gray label is maturing both in its designs and its sophistication. I'm using a mixture of luxury fabrics in ways that compliment the body and create a strong silhouette. I'm creating an image for longevity, not clothes that are fashionable. I am designing in 3 areas now. mens, womens and an in between areas called 'gray.' The gray represents the androgonous aspect of my designs and has no sex. It is sexless; pieces are designed to float between masculine and feminine, this helps meld the whole collection together."

Friedrich Gray is more than just a label. Friedrich Gray is a story, a study and a journey. Since March 2006, Sydney designer Ben Pollitt has been fleshing out his alter ego, a character whose journey runs parallel to the vision of the designer and is played out in each season’s range. We follow the valiant protagonist by way of seasons and collections. “Developing a character other than myself to lead the journey allows my mind to experience the darkened exploits of a man with no constraints”. Mysterious and ferocious, we see Pollitt’s fashion narrative follow Friedrich’s plight from the chaos of a broken city and through the savage lands.

Friedrich Gray was born from Pollitt in an attempt to set his own tone within the constructs of Australian fashion. After working as a fashion stylist in New York he returned to Sydney in 2006 with a vision for the label. Friedrich Gray assumed it’s own persona, by means of a mixture of meticulously selected fabrics and timeless cuts

Pollitt studied industrial design and building construction, he is untrained in fashion instead drawing his influence from the music of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, experimental bands including the Liars, and designers Ann Demuilemeester; Pollitt’s style sensibilities are dark and distinctive. Equally coveted by the black lain hipsters and high-end stylists, Friedrich Gray’s “sophisticated deconstructivism” masterfully integrates clashing styles to form collections that are both innovative and wearable.

Emphasising simplicity in both style and appearance, Pollitt sources his fabrics with great care. A specially developed hand-treated leather from Japan, lightweight New Zealand merino wool and super fine cotton are cuffed, zipped and draped to create androgenous shapes that layer black on black with shots of slate and sand.

Ben Pollitt is currently working on the Spring Summer collection which will be shown at RAFW. He comments on the win of the Woolmark New Designer Award, "I'm really excited to be working with Woolmark in developing some lightweight woolen fabrics that will accommodate the Australian climate. I feel very strongly about using natural fibres."

His unique style philosophy has caught the attention of buyers and media alike and is stocked around Australia in reputable boutiques including Fat (VIC), Alice Euphemia (VIC), Incu, The Corner Shop, Dobry Den and Capital L (NSW) and, Violent Green, Dirtbox and Bessie Head (QLD).

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