• Mateusz Kaminski

Britain's obsession with Moschino.

Photography by Brandon Westley

After its creation in the early 80’s, Moschino rose to prominence in Britain primarily through its association with the emerging Garage and DnB scenes of the early 90’s. The brand’s infamous eclectic two-pieces with iconic all-over print designs became a wardrobe staple for ravers with a thirst for high end designer wear and consequentially this consolidated Moschino’s influence on the UK’s streetwear and rave scenes simultaneously. The UK’s underground scene has been synonymous with designer labels since its conception with other Italian designers namely Versace and Gucci, also providing mainstays in ravers’ wardrobes throughout the progression of the movement. Although Moschino’s imprint remained integral to UK street style throughout the 90’s, a new wave of enthusiasts has developed over the last five years as Britain’s youth cultural style increasingly fetishes the styles and aesthetics apparent throughout out the 90’s.

With an increasing desire for mid 90’s luxury fashion, Saul Milton - one half of DnB duo Chase & Status and avid Moschino collector presented an exhibition titled ‘Super Sharp’ of his favourite Moschino garms hosted by Fashion Space Gallery. Milton’s collection is home to over 1,000 garments from Moschino with the collection spanning eras from the late 80’s and finishing in 2014, although the predominant focus is the brand’s 90’s chapter when Milton was most intertwined in the growing rave scene in Britain. Milton explains in interview “I bought every piece from Jeremy Scott’s first collection [for Moschino] but for me that was the ending, I had to have a start and an ending to my collection and the creative direction being passed to Scott marked the end of era for me.” For many Moschino fans this sentiment resonates, as Rossella Jardini former creative director and assistant to Franco Moschino until his death in 1994 left the company in 2013 signifying a stylistic ending to the originality of Franco Moschino’s design. By comparison Scott’s creative output is more aptly described as childish and playful as opposed to the innovative and eccentric designs that Franco Moschino gained such a reputation for.

Photography by Katy Davies

Heartless Crew (Mighty Moe, DJ Fonti and MC Bushkin), 1998
Rewinding back 25 years Milton sets the scene on how he became involved in UK rave culture, “In the 90’s we were living in times of financial struggle and social upheaval which resulted in production of new music [genres] with movements like the rave scene” and as we have seen with the way luxury Italian fashion becoming a symbol of rebellion against this financial struggle for ravers Milton explains “there was no better way of showing you’re doing alright then by wearing the [Versace] Medusa logo on your back or a Mosch two piece.”

Photography by Tristan O'neill

This cycle of social upheaval provoking new forms of creative output is something Britain has made to be a repetitious trend with similar rebellious subcultures such as punk arising from the depressive times of the mid 70’s. In the eras before the conception of the internet Britain’s subcultures had a more ‘one-track’ taste where people would only adopt styles that fit within the subcultural confines of one group, Milton explains “We used Moschino as a uniform to identify with the culture and from this people could recognise others of the same culture”. In more recent times as British youth subcultures become increasingly difficult to segregate Milton describes “The youth of today now appropriate the styles of our [90’s] Moschino but do it differently with trackies and clima fit caps”. This is evidence of subcultures borrowing from one another in order to progress stylistically and create a renewed image. Although Milton also outlines on behalf of the rave culture “We also as a culture appropriated the glamour of Italian fashion and customised it by tailoring and dying it to modify it to our culture.” When questioned on the ethos of his collection and the nature in which he collects Milton reveals his unconditional love for Moschino, “I’ll buy pieces regardless of size and just get them tailored” and also how “These shirts are now grails therefore I always have them tailored to my size and keep the tags attached.” Milton’s collection is one of the most extensive based solely upon Moschino and it stands as a testament to his collection that he was able to supply an entire exhibition using only sets from the 90’s era that he had collected more than one of. He explains “It’s too much of a risk to display the sets I only have one of as these pieces are simply irreplaceable.” Milton’s attitude to collecting is also very savvy, although in a more privileged purchasing position due to his success with Chase and Status then an average Moschino collector, he described tales of intense bidding wars and bartering with sellers to get as little as £10 off the price of a piece he couldn’t live without.

“People make these movements into a scene and the lengths people go to is what makes it interesting to follow, I know people that regularly go abroad to places like Milan just to look through flea markets and chase the rarest pieces.”