Based in the English seaside city of Brighton, Story mfg. is that all-too-rare kind of fashion brand: the kind that isn’t just in dialogue with the zeitgesty preoccupations of the moment – although in Story’s case it very much is – but also in a real, authentic dialogue with the implications and idiosyncrasies of its more immediate geography.
Nestled between the water and a wide-ranging area of wild, natural beauty known as the South Downs, the coastal town is an improbably and vibrant urban microcosm – a place that sometimes feels like it ought not to exist. In turn, Story Mfg. is a label that seems to fully understand that – as much as we’re a part of the world – this Earth belongs to nature, and we’re all just passing through, appreciating what we see along the way.
“As always, we champion evidence of handwork with wood block prints, hand crochet, knitting, embroidery, and patchwork.”
And, with that ethos at its core, the label continues to produce some of the most interesting – and certainly some of the most unique – designs of any contemporary brand, playing with these themes overtly in text and graphics and also in the minutiae of the shapes and the materials. (The culmination of which can be seen in the release of Story’s first Eau du Parfum, which – without even getting to the scent – features a stone-shaped stopper, crafted from cotton paper and assorted deadstock.)
In that sense, Story’s latest offering – its AW24 collection, “Earthen Architecture” – follows a familiar thread. A thread which, with only a quick glance at the gallery above, you can tell was stitched by hand, with intention, and with a sense of humor.
Featuring the kinds of tongue-in-cheek, nature-based puns to which Story fans have become accustomed (see: “WE’RE ROOTING FOR YOU,” woven into one piece of knitwear), and riffs on the peculiarities of bucolic Englishness (see: the “BIGGEST VEG CONTEST,” worked into another piece), there is also a great deal of evolution on show here. Taking the slower route with production – preferring not just to create by hand, but to leave evidence of that handwork behind as a part of each design – the “Earthen Architecture” collection also innovates in new ways for the label.
The “Sahab Vest,” for example – described by the brand as an “unusual-for-us development” and a revisiting of its “slow-tek” performance clothing – is a puffed-up piece of outwear, filled with “non-animal recycled material” and, according to Story, “providing as much warmth as duck-down without the environmental cost or animal cruelty.” And even more familiar products, like the “Port-Alls” line of bags, is given a rework – made, for the first time, from “recycled manmade materials.”
“With the help of lots of hands, roots, bark, berries, fibres and other eco dyes we bring to life an evolution of our collections, with new developments.”
The collection, as you’d expect, is expansive: Story mfg. may work at its own pace, but that doesn’t mean skimping on output. Here, we have shirting, pants, dresses, knitwear, tees, bags, and hats – each imbued with a sense of individual character and the hallmarks of the brand’s design language. The collection also features an extension of the “Wonky-Wear” workwear capsule, aptly described as “embracing wonkiness.”
Due to land in stores later this year, you can browse the collection in the gallery above and check out more from the brand over on the Story mfg. website.