What do Beyoncé, Cardi B, Lizzo, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus have in common? Other than all holding titles as the reigning queens of pop, of course. Well, it’s a question for CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Christian Cowan, the 24-year-old British designer who makes electric onstage looks for each of them.
From head-to-toe glitter two-pieces to graphic checkerboard bodysuits, Cowan’s DNA is all volume, colour and print – he’s not one for the shy and retiring. It’s not just the world of music the Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion graduate has mastered, though, with fashion’s biggest names – Naomi Campbell among them – donning his looks for owning-the-room moments.
While vinyl, mesh, feathers and every tactile fabric in between may be ideal for arena tours, he’s now giving fans the chance to play dress-up in his creations, thanks to a collaboration with high street giant ASOS. "It’s a really exciting opportunity because as a young designer, our main collection’s price points are really high due to limited volume, but it’s not like everyone can buy a £2,000 dress," he explains at ASOS' New York HQ after his SS20 show, where the looks were debuted. "The majority of our Instagram followers are young and don’t have huge budgets but they’re as important to me as my celebrity clients, so this collection is for them, and I’m really thrilled."
The capsule is made up of 35 styles, from printed hoodies and joggers to reflective logos and metallic puffers, and includes womenswear, unisex and ASOS Curve, alongside super Instagrammable accessories like hair slides and monogrammed socks. "I love clothes that make a noise," Cowan says, and with influences spanning ‘70s disco,’90s rave and go-faster ‘80s motocross, there’s nothing of the wallflower about the collection.
With a huge roster of celebrity clients, who is next on his dream collaborator list? "I’m desperate to dress Cher...or Tina Turner, or Elton John." While these iconic musicians don’t shy away from the show-stopping aesthetic so embedded in Cowan’s designs, what about Gen Z? "Oh, I’d love to work with Billie Eilish, her oversized silhouette is really fun and would be something new for me."
Ranging from £6 to £130 and available at ASOS now, it’s not every day you get to buy something affordable fresh from the New York Fashion Week catwalk. Cowan’s 241,000 followers will have to form an orderly queue...
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