Simon Waterfall has been committing social suicide ever since his university days at the Royal College of Art in London. Simon was known as much for his design work as he was for his preference for wearing women's evening gowns and skirts. This was not an act of transvestism, but one of cultural engineering. When I met up with him recently in London he talked about a life change that presented the opportunity to provoke in a new way, leading him to dress in the opposite manner. That's when he discovered the world of bespoke suits, specifically those by the famous bad boy of Savile Row, Tommy Nutter.
Provocation combined with an enchantment for elusive and exclusive fashion led Simon, with best mate Matt Grey (aka Tig), to create a small range of finely tailored suits. Late last year they turned these one-off creations into a new line of men's jackets and suits called Social Suicide. Each piece is hand made from the finest materials and each of the 10 styles has a subversive and sometimes in-your-face message stitched, flocked, embroidered or painted on.
To refine their cuts, the duo enlisted Savile Row tailor Joe Morgan—one of the original tailors and pattern cutters at Tommy Nutter. The result is a slim, dapper silhouette. The details are exceptional: proper button holes on the sleeve, pockets shaped and reinforced for modern accompaniments (mobile phones, skin mags, etc). While the cut and craft is nothing short of exceptional, it's the story each piece tells that sets SS apart from any other men's fashion label at the moment.
"We all walk the streets armed. Defend yourself from the masses. This suit is not airline friendly. Italian 100% New Wool with embroidered gun on the pocket and ARMED across the back."
"Feel cheeky with both hands. 100% New Wool Tweed Check with leather elbow and arse patches."
"A young man sits on a bench. The place where he hung out with his mates, where he'd pull on his football boots, nurse his shins, where he fought and cried, laughed and lied. Where he had his first smoke. Where he had his first kiss, his first love and romance. Where he carved their names and where he asked her to take his. Where he sat whilst walking the dog, watched his kids play, flirted with infidelity. He thinks of time and how all these things have passed—life, love and loss. Now he is old with his time pressed into his soul. And the bench is still there. 100% New Wool Flannel with embroidered dedication and printed bench marks."
"Size is everything if you listen to society and biggest is best, I’m richer, faster and bigger than you, but it all depends on your competition. In John’s eyes we are all small boys. 100% Italian New Wool with applique tape measure across the back and inseams."
Pursed & Brown and Pursed &Pink
"Man enough to be feminine, or feminine enough not to care, do you really own your own identity, or is it something THEY talk about? Your pockets have always been your handbag. Now shut up and hold this. 100% New Wool Tweed Check and Italian 110s 100% New Wool with the world's first six-colour flock printed handbag pocket."
"Scouting for boys…or girls. DIY badges show your adult achievements for on-the-spot vetting. Why not? It's why you came; it's why you're here; it's why you dressed up isn't it? Who darns, wins. 100% wool suit in a fallen angel white comes with DIY badges show your adult achievements for on-the-spot vetting."
"The embroidery on this jacket alone takes five hours; the hand-cutting and sewing a full day; the fabric is the best 100% wool. If any one of the processes goes wrong, the whole jacket is scrapped. Now that's love and commitment. 100% New Wool with embroidered flower on the lapel and bouquet behind the back."
"Joke’s on you, Fool. Tailor’s dummy, one of our favorites. Twisted tailoring and twisted humor combine in a three piece suit that just won’t button-up straight. 100% New Wool Flannel."
As Simon said, "I'm a storyteller, and these are the props I use to tell my stories." I think you're going to be hearing a lot more about Simon and Tig and the stories of Social Suicide they have to tell.