The re-work fashion label inspired by the Frankenstein-like, 18th Century French zoologist was founded in lockdown and provides unconventional, inclusive and boundary-pushing garments that are missing from every rave scene.
Niall Harrison created re-work fashion label; Paul Bert back in April during the peak of lockdown, with the free-flowing intention (like all of us) of keeping busy and creative. The now fully developed label provides gender-bending, bold and confident pieces ready to wear. A tremendous amount of their pieces are vintage one-of-ones and are perfect for the fashion-conscious, "the thing with vintage is you can go out and it’s a guarantee that no-one else is wearing the same thing."
Niall studied Fashion Communication as well as being knowledgeable with textiles from studying Art meaning Niall was no beginner in re-working clothes. During his quarantine before the brand developed, he crafted a unique monochrome shirt made from two halves of what people would class as 'throwaway' t-shirts. "I've always challenged disposable, throwaway culture. I wanted to make it more fashion... As an upcoming designer now, you have to incorporate sustainability in your brand. We can't go on the way we are with fast fashion and how disposable things are". When Niall wore his newly re-worked shirt around his friends, they were amazed, said their praises and asked if they could buy one similar. From there Niall's brand came to life along with his process of creating a name/ brand ideology.
Niall always loved the idea of his creations relating to Frankenstein, "because Frankenstein was constructed from different body parts it kinda correlates to how I am cutting up clothes and create a new life for them." After doing research he realised that the neck-bolts and Frankenstein idea had been used before and there's all the reason to be individual! Niall did more research and came to the one and only Paul Bert. He was an 18th Century French zoologist, physiologist and politician who performed the idea of parabiosis; the surgical joining of two organisms. "I found out Paul usually performed this on mice, sewing two halves together to see how long they live."
Niall has a way for narrative and storytelling through clothes and performance, "I've always worked with narrative, getting the audience in and putting on a show." His graduate collection was displayed at an event run by Niall himself called 'Wake.' It was a funeral set in the future, where the fashion industry had destroyed the planet. "This collection was made from characters, more like costumes and each character represented something corrupt about the fashion industry."
The Paul Bert SS21 collection ‘Frau Troffea’ mixed the centuries up by pulling its inspirations from both the ‘dance plague’ of 1518 and the Club-Kid, Disco, Dr Beat and "not being able to control your body" era. The collections displayed very exaggerated skirts, bold pinks and unique graphics as well as featuring sexually inclusive looks as men walked the runway in skirts and crop tops. The event held similarities to a classic American prom with hints of the 90s rave scene seeping through. The influence of the 'dance plague’ was performed precisely through the physical element of the event, as the models embodied the plague with jerky and trembling movements in the wide-open space, lit with pinks creating a creepy yet enticing atmosphere.
The Paul Bert label has some exciting announcements coming up, Niall is about to launch his online site, following his 8-month pop-up store stay in Brick Lane. As well as this, Niall’s AW collection is highly anticipated, "it is going to be called 'Creature' which will be my take on classic monsters such as Godzilla, Frankenstein".
Writer: Izabel Rose
Make Up: Georgia Hope assisted by Leila Anne,Melanie Christou and Daisy Moore
Photographers: Ai Narapol, Chris Freeman, Emily Laverello, Henry Nash
Movement Direction: Jordan James Bridge
Venue: Unit 58, Tottenham Hale