Installation view of BLAIRARCHIBALD on display in Fashion Now as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Sean Fennessy


(Est. 2014, Melbourne)

BLAIRARCHIBALD is an independent menswear label created by New-Zealand born Blair Archibald. The designer is interested in deconstructing masculinity through experimental tailoring that plays with volume and drapery, drawing from the design languages of utility, workwear and uniforms. Archibald’s conceptual garments are wearable, sustainable and durable, and he is known for repurposing production waste into new textiles.

On display at Melbourne Now are looks from BLAIRARCHIBALD’s autumn–winter 2018 and autumn–winter 2022 collections. Developed as a submission for the International Woolmark Prize, Outfit, from the Last Knitting Mill collection, is a series of garments exploring responsible and innovative uses of wool textiles. With materiality at the centre of Archibald’s design process, outerwear was created from repurposed army blankets using wool that was locally grown, spun and sewn into items for the Australian Armed Forces in the 1960s. For Archibald, the garments are a commentary on the Australian textile industry’s depletion, showing how materials must be repurposed to meet the prize’s brief: to produce a garment that is 100 per cent Australian made from fibre to form.

The autumn–winter 2022 collection was inspired by the work of German artist Angela Glajcar, whose spectacular installations and sculptures build layers of hand-cut paper to form dimension and composition. Archibald employs a similar technique with textiles, including silk organza and horsehair canvas in a process that both deconstructs and illuminates the complexities of traditional men’s tailoring.

The Last Knitting Mill was the Australia/New Zealand Menswear winner of the International Woolmark Prize in 2017, which saw Archibald compete for the global prize in Florence, Italy. The collection was presented in the label’s first solo runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2018 and won the Best in Fashion Design prize at the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards that year. In 2019 BLAIRARCHIBALD received the BT Emerging Designer Award in Sydney. Archibald is currently a lecturer in fashion and design at LCI Melbourne and was previously a lecturer at the Melbourne Fashion Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Fashion/Apparel Design) from the Auckland University of Technology.