ABOUT - a bit of background
Designer name : Philip Stephens
Origin : South Manchester, Cheshire
Design signatures: “Relaxed, refined, understated, sensual. Drape against structure.”
How would you describe your ideal client ? “Confident, open to new ideas but still with their own sense of style.”
Career highlight : “Maybe it's yet to come?”
Three spring/summer inspirations : “ my two mothers : Shirley Eileen Stephens née Ryder , and mother nature. Rebirth. "
What’s next for your brand ? “ We are refining everything.”
Who are your design heroes? “ Claude Montana, Halston, Giorgio Armani, Anouska Hempel and Tadao Ando.”
What’s your favourite cultural hotspot in the capital? “Right now, it’s got to be my bedroom.”
In five years’ time I will be … “Different but exactly the same.”
London's UNCONDITIONAL is now 16 years old. Designed by Philip Stephens, it initially started as a capsule collection of mens knitwear and jersey for his Concrete Shop, in Soho, London in 2003.
Mens knitwear was soon joined by a women's collection after women started to shop the mens collection. UNCONDITIONAL was shown on the official London Fashion Week schedule for 8 seasons and multiple seasons in New York, Shanghai and Amsterdam.
The first UNCONDITIONAL standalone store opened in London next to the Covent Garden Hotel in 2008 and closed in 2019 - its new location will be soon revealed.
UNCONDITIONAL is said to be very London in its attitude yet with an ease and understated simplicity sometimes described as quite 'American'. From the beginning the collections have been said to be "a winning combination of the laidback and the edgy".
The backbone of each collection remains a unique range of ‘luxury basics’ with an overlay of more special pieces.
Favouring a relaxed style, UNCONDITIONAL is often mildly androgynous. UNCONDITIONAL has established its own feeling of a modern elegance with a dash of pure rock ’n’ roll – pieces that are uncompromising in their attention to detail with high quality fabrications.
We have from the very beginning alway sought out and favoured pure, ethically produced fabrics and yarns. We also also like to give fabrics and pieces "second lives" often through cold dyeing and recycling. Each collection morphs from the last, an ongoing but continuous story.
Clean, strong silhouettes are always intentionally quite sexy, often balancing a signature of drape set against structured, architectural tailoring, providing an overall aesthetic that has gained the brand a loyal customer base and a cult celebrity following.
We cater for a client base with a particular mindset rather than an age bracket ; they start from early teens and go well into their 80's - most notably including 'regulars' the actors Sir Ian Mckellen (80 this year) and Amanda Barrie (83)
······ Some favourite bits of press which we try to live up to ······
“Like an experienced writer, Stephens has been playing with the language of formal dressing, the vernacular of sportswear, the vocabulary of womenswear. The result is an accomplished and imaginative collection that achieves a sophisticated and elegant look without ever being boring, formal or traditional, without ever appearing too dressy or too fashion. This innovative combination of street style and formal elegance makes UNCONDITIONAL one of London’s best designer labels.” Peppe Orru, Collezioni 2006
"The creations of UNCONDITIONAL communicate a distinguished comfort, an air of serenity, as if the slightest gesture of the person wearing them were enough to radiate elegance. UNCONDITIONAL represents another turn of the screw in elegant modernity as a clear example of the simple, of the strength of cuts performed with care and attention to detail in collections charged with a contemporary attitude.
Design with pure cuts, clean and forceful colours, the absence of prints and stridency, all orientated toward highlighting the personality of the person wearing them, without exaggerated displays of emotion. Perhaps for this reason it is one of the brands having the most impact on British Fashion today." Atlas of Fashion Designers 2009