GOLDFISH BOLD

GOLDFISH BOLD

Fashion designer, Cassandra Verity Green courts color and controversy

by Maria Raposo

Cassandra Verity Green has the voice of a London girl and she looks like one too: oozing cosmopolitan confidence in tiny denim shorts and a black band choker. She greets me with a friendly hug, as if we’ve known each other for years. “Sorry I’m late,” she apologizes through wisps of green hair. “I hate being late”.                                                                   

We meet in The Old Shoreditch Station Café, the bar where she works when she’s not designing her new ready-to-wear collection. You can tell we’re in East London because the barista wears a red checked shirt and asks me what I’d like from behind square rimmed glasses. But then where else would you expect to meet a fresh-faced London fashion graduate. 

Called Cassie by her colleagues, the young designer just graduated from four years of fashion at Central Saint Martins. Her graduate collection has a bubblegum aesthetic coupled with voluminous, seaweed textures – she admits that the heavy embellishment made the pieces very time-consuming to create, crediting a team of foundation students who helped her.

Grateful for this network of support, she’s experienced a lot of interest in her work since leaving university. There are stores in London and Japan who are keen to stock her stuff and she’s also been featured in a range of alternative and mainstream magazines; her reputation slowly but surely gathering momentum.

Cassandra Verity Green has the voice of a London girl and she looks like one too

She orders an iced coffee, which looks more like a caramel sundae, before singing the praises of Central Saint Martins. “I wanted to go so much that I didn’t even apply anywhere else,” she says. “I did my foundation there – the tutors were amazing and it was the best course for knitwear”. When I talk about trends, she sounds embarrassed: “I don’t really know about stuff like that, Saint Martins teaches you to be potential leaders of fashion, not followers – I don’t think they’d like it if we said we were inspired by trends”.

However, like many art schools, the university fails to teach many practical business skills. “I would have definitely appreciated having a bit more guidance in that department,” says Green, crediting her internships for the knowledge she uses now to manage and maximize her creativity.

 “I don’t really know about trends. Saint Martins teaches you to be potential leaders of fashion, not followers"

Bold and colorful in her designs, Green says she’s had enough of black – “it’s been done so much.” Instead she’s started to gravitate towards nudes, a tone she’s keen to push in her new collection. She’s aware her clothes are designed for customers a bit like her – “If I could wear my things all the time, I would. I’m always prancing around the house in them”.

She’s had a mostly positive response to her work, but she also found herself at the centre of a media backlash after her CSM [Central Saint Martins] fashion show. Her controversial use of goldfish on the catwalk sparked RSPCA outrage – prompting the Evening Standard and The Daily Mail to feature photographs of her models under headlines such as “RSPCA pours cold water on wacky graduate fashion”.

Cassandra Green pictured with models

Cassandra Green pictured with models

A spokeswoman from the animal charity responded to Green’s goldfish bowl handbags and rucksacks, expressing concerns about the fish’s well-being: “While we understand that a graduate fashion show is about grabbing attention and headlines, we do have concerns that using a living creature to create a novel or unusual accessory encourages people to see them as replaceable ornaments, rather than living creatures in need of care and commitment.”

But what the papers didn’t recognize was that these weren’t some poor fish, sacrificed for the sake of style but Green’s pets – Milkshake and Babtunde. “They were really well looked after,” she reiterates, telling me that they weren’t used for sensation but because they went with the collection’s aesthetics, “with the whole sea-monster vibe”.

None of the papers contacted her for a quote and so it was down to her tutor to defend her: “I was annoyed at how people are so quick to judge without hearing both sides of the story”. Indignant, she says that the CSM fashion show has always been about bridging the gap between art and fashion – it’s not about being practical, it’s about being creative. To her, this is what the papers didn’t understand.

Cassandra Verity Green

Her graduate collection used her grandmother, a beauty queen, for inspiration. She recalls stories of her “nan” in the 50s, walking along the beach and holding up her pageant number. Combining these memories with a love of a sea-themed aesthetic – “I’ve always loved anything to do with water” – the way Green weaves nostalgia into her collection adds an intimacy that is unusual in fashion.

Uninspired by high-street fashion, Green gets her clothes from charity shops and is obsessed with Etsy and its “great vintage section”. Her disengagement from the world of affordable fashion suggests the industry is failing young and creative people who want to look good but dress differently. She refers to her own designs as slightly “tacky” but their confidence and color may mark a new wave of clothing that is not afraid to be bold. 

 

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

MEET THE ARTISTS CHINA CAN'T KEEP CONTAINED

Artists Sun Yuan & Peng Yu display dead babies & live animals at Guggenheim Museum Exhibition

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

JOSEPH BEUYS: I LIKE AMERICA AND AMERICA LIKES ME

What we can learn from artist about race relations and how to heal a nation    

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

A SEXLESS SOCIETY IS HERE

Fashion rides the gender blending trend  

Maria Raposo

Read more »
Share »

THE HEDI SLIMANE EFFECT ON YVES SAINT LAURENT

How the designer remade the house of Yves Saint Laurent

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

NAN GOLDIN: THE BALLAD OF SEXUAL DEPENDENCY

The artist captures the essence of humanity and life on the edge

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

SYNCHRODOGS: “I must be dreaming”

We speak to the photography duo about synchronicity & the power of dreams

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

THE COLLAGE RENAISSANCE

Contemporary collage is the new Pop Art collectors are buying into

Harriet Baker

Read more »
Share »

DAVID BOWIE PUSHED THE LIMITS OF MUSIC, ART & FASHION

Bowie was an artist and an explorer that embodied true individuality that our generation craves

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

MEET THE ARTISTS CHINA CAN'T KEEP CONTAINED

Artists Sun Yuan & Peng Yu display dead babies & live animals at Guggenheim Museum Exhibition

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

JOSEPH BEUYS: I LIKE AMERICA AND AMERICA LIKES ME

What we can learn from artist about race relations and how to heal a nation    

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

A SEXLESS SOCIETY IS HERE

Fashion rides the gender blending trend  

Maria Raposo

Read more »
Share »

THE HEDI SLIMANE EFFECT ON YVES SAINT LAURENT

How the designer remade the house of Yves Saint Laurent

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

NAN GOLDIN: THE BALLAD OF SEXUAL DEPENDENCY

The artist captures the essence of humanity and life on the edge

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

SYNCHRODOGS: “I must be dreaming”

We speak to the photography duo about synchronicity & the power of dreams

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

THE COLLAGE RENAISSANCE

Contemporary collage is the new Pop Art collectors are buying into

Harriet Baker

Read more »
Share »

DAVID BOWIE PUSHED THE LIMITS OF MUSIC, ART & FASHION

Bowie was an artist and an explorer that embodied true individuality that our generation craves

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY GETS HYPER-REAL

From Erwin Blumenfeld to Nick Knight, fashion constructs fantastical images

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

THE EVOCATIVE IMAGES OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

Eminent street photographers find beauty in the ordinary

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

THE ZINE SCENE IS BACK

Self-Publishing is Having a Moment and It’s Redefining Youth and Self Expression

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

PLASTIC PURGERY – BARBIE IN BONDAGE BREAKS THE INTERNET

Photographer Mariel Clayton Reinvents the Stereotype of the Female Form

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

LOUIS VUITTON - SERIES 3 EXHIBITION

Nicolas Ghesquière: less mask, more man

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

REGENERATION OR GENTRIFICATION?

The changing face of London’s artistic communities

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

INSIDE THE CHELSEA HOTEL

The legendary New York hangout of rockstars and Hollywood royalty

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

IN CONVERSATION WITH OLAF BREUNING

The artist talks about the endless interpretations of his work and life

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

REVEALED: KURT COBAIN'S ORIGINAL ARTWORK

A dark look into the mind of Nirvana’s tortured frontman

Daryl Mersom

Read more »
Share »

ABOUT A GIRL: TEENAGERS IN POP CULTURE

Exploring media fantasies from saints to bad-ass sinners of female youth

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

ART GONE VIRAL

Performance art videos are paving the way for activism through social media

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

IN CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST TOM LEAMON

The ritual experiments of painting and poetry

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

COLLAGE ARTIST HOLLY-ANNE BUCK/COLLAGISM

We talk to the artist about playing with abstraction & reconstructing reality

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

FROM UNISEX TO ANTI-FASHION

Meet Rudi Gernreich, the first gender blender fashion activist

Alessandro Esculapio

Read more »
Share »

THE REVIVAL OF WARP N’ WEFT

From artisan to art; the lost craft of tapestry is making a comeback

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE ALCHEMY OF COLLAGE: ARTISTS IRINA & SILVIU SZEKELY

Art is not art if it doesn’t generate misrepresentation, confusion, anger or sarcasm

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

THE CREATIVE CLASS: MAKING IT THEIR WAY

Photographer Francesca Allen captures the talented, genuine and real

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

'80S ICON KEITH HARING’S POP SHOP

The Art and Commerce of Giving Back

Alessandro Esculapio

Read more »
Share »

THE DEATH OF BRONSON

The art and literature of "Charles Bronson"; Britain's most notorious prisoner

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE PSYCHEDELIC LOVE-IN OF THE FABULOUS COCKETTES

San Francisco’s original underground glitter troupe

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE MODERN DAY DANDY CULT

Old fashioned values and classic sartorial style returns to mens fashion

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »
Top