Words by Angie Jachniw
June 26th, 2018
Meet Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY: The young designer responsible for reverberating London’s fashion scene with his club-goes-couture aesthetic and active participation in the LGBTQI+ community. A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s design school under the same mentor as Alexander McQueen—humble brag—Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY brand is materialised evidence that life experience is the fundamental ingredient to accessing creative ingeniousness.
To Jeffrey, the standard classroom structure rivalled his lust for the decadently mysterious party-boy lifestyle he was aroused by. And, it wasn’t until after he took a job under the pseudonym LOVERBOY, at the established rave venue Vogue Fabrics Dalston, that his creative match was struck. In those years spent acquainting himself with the misunderstood crew of art-tellectuals, Jeffrey inexorably earned his reputation, and his spot on the runway.
Just two years following his breakout moment at London Fashion Week, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY was critically affirmed to be one of most refreshingly honest and boldly transparent designers of his time. It was this reputation that subsequently led him to become the visual voice behind Topshop’s 2018 Pride collection, as they wanted his ready-to-wear capsule to personify the symbolic triumphs within UK LGBTQI+ history. The result—an online collection that launched June 21—promotes five unisex shirts to the same audacious, unapologetic and authentic likeliness that is indicative of LOVERBOY’s brand. Both thought-provoking and raw, Jeffrey had managed to encapsulate the pride of challenging societal norms while also honouring the blatant impudence that the members of his community embody.
Perhaps opposite other accomplished designers, Jeffrey’s inventive concept called for collaboration amongst his contemporaries. Just as queer-rights had historically been recognised as a multifaceted movement, he saw it to be an injustice to approach the project with unidimensional mindset. The capsule’s final five designs are set to illustrate the milestones achieved throughout the historic LGBTQI+ timeline. To represent each accomplished freedom, Jeffrey commissioned an artist within the community to tell their story. And while all the featured artists are considered experts, their works have gained notoriety across adjacent platforms; painters, typographers, abstract cartoonists—a true employment of chaotic cohesion, if you will. But to Jeffrey, their distinctions provide a quirky element of individuality within an otherwise uniform notion. Online, you’ll find their prints exhibiting the right to gender recognition, as interpreted by artist Ryan Driscoll; the right to adopt by artist Alex Gutapfel; the right to marriage as expressed by artist Stephanie Linn; the right to serve by artist Frances Wilks; and, the right to intimacy shown by artist James Spencer.
Jeffrey’s decision to welcome these artists expands far beyond business strategy. Though he openly admires their work for the creative value, it was ultimately about the philanthropic voice each contributor carries. Every artist within the project is a brazen spokesperson on behalf of LGBTQI+ social reformation and actively propels their community’s reputation towards a positive tomorrow. Being an advocate for embracing the eccentricity our culture suggests we suppress, it was most important that Jeffrey’s team mirrored the principles closest to him.
For the all the young LOVERBOYS and girls waiting for their time, this one’s for you.
**Available just in time for Dublin’s Pride Parade on June 30th, order yours online via Topshop UK. 30% of proceeds for each shirt sold will be donated to Diversity Role Models.**
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