Bradley Sharpe’s Tent Dress – Using Fashion As A Vehicle For Change

Rebecca Hunt
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Bradley Sharpe is an emerging designer and former Marc Jacobs’ trainee, finalising his fashion studies in London, at Central Saint Martins (CSM).

Bradley’s original creations are peculiarly compelling and everything we expect from a ‘future of fashion’ designer.

Granted, the ‘future of fashion’ concept will always have SCI-FI aspects appended to it.

However, it is the nearer, more actionable ‘future’ that we are going to explore today, thanks to Bradley Sharpe.

Bradley’s latest collection – made at home, in quarantine, rather than at the CSM studios – is constructed from tent parts collected from festival-goers around London.

Bradley Sharpe upcycled tent dress

The designer upcycles all kinds of tent parts, from poles, fibreglass panels, textiles, and even ropes, and turns them into iconic ‘tent dresses’ of 18th-century aesthetics.

Working as a bartender at a sex club, throughout my studies at Saint Martins, helped me become aware of how difficult it is to achieve personal space,” tells Bradley Sharpe.

This is how the idea of a collection that’s equally extravagant and prevents personal space invaders, was born,” he continued.

Bradley Sharpe Tent Dress Lineisy Montero for V Magazine

Lineisy Montero wearing a Bradley Sharpe tent dress for V Magazine.

Bradley’s original approach to fashion has gained him global recognition, with celebrities such as Lady Gaga wearing his creations.

Lady Gaga wearing Bradley Sharpe dress

Lady Gaga wearing a Bradley Sharpe tent dress for Billboard.

Bradley Sharpe’s tent dresses come flat, with the poles packed separately.

Also, the packaging contains a manual which instructs the buyer how to assemble the skirt.

As all the components arrive flat, it is important that there’s a manual. In this way, the buyer interacts with the garment even before they wear it,” says Bradley.

However, it seems that the overall tent structure distracts from the superb 18th-century tailoring and details.

“I spend a lot of time adapting pattern blocks to fit the modern woman to influence courtship traditions. For example, on my turquoise tent coat, there are 24 jet buttonholes which took over 30 hours of hand-sewing.”

Bradley Sharpe Tent Dress Adut Akech Bior for Another Magazine

Adut Akech Bior wearing Bradley Sharpe’s iconic tent dress for Another Magazine.

It is also worth mentioning that beyond the dresses’ unique stylistic appearance, Bradly’s design philosophy is firmly rooted in the ‘Slow Fashion‘ concept.

First, the ‘make-it-yourself’ approach creates a new ‘wearer-garment’ relationship, which could increase product longevity.

“If you build something yourself, there is always that feeling of accomplishment. It is my way of encouraging consumers to introduce longevity in their wardrobes.”

Second, as Bradly’s dresses are made from upcycled materials, each creation is reducing waste and pollution.

When asked what’s next for Bradley Sharpe, the designer replied:

“I’m working on phase two of my collection entitled ‘mourning the pitch’, to be released this in September. Expect bigger structures, tons of upcycling and a lot of drama.”

WTVOX – Voicing the Future of Fashion

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on emerging fashion designers and their views on how the future of fashion should look like.

Yes, there are a lot of similar designers out there that we would love to cover and for that, we need your help:

  • Would you wear a tent dress?
  • What would you like to see in Bradley’s ‘mourning the pitch’ collection?
  • Can you name 3 emerging fashion designers with similar fashion views?

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