Christian Stone Makes Video Game Fashion Equipped For Real Life
Christian Stone, Christian Stone, Christian Stone – sound familiar? Get to know the name. Stone is the Hong Kong-born, Central Saint Martins design graduate that combines extravagant designs with video game culture to create, what he describes as a “wearable extension of Playstation”. His designs have donned the likes of A$ap Rocky, FKA Twigs, as well as former 10 Men cover star Swae Lee.
To our surprise (and I’m sure to yours), Christian Stone is not the real name of this undercover designer. “Christian Stone is the alter ego of mine. Christian Stone is delightful, bold and daring in his life, he is liberated both creatively and sexually for most areas of his life. In contrast, my original identity is closeted and it is under the suppression of a traditional environment in which my Asian family has raised me,” says the designer.
Every Christian Stone garment has a mind of its own. From wildly creative fabric innovations to individual collaborative pieces, Stone’s creativity sprouted during his time at Central Saint Martins and has continued on since his graduation in 2017. “I would like to think that the most valuable thing I got from CSM is the environment and structures of each project encouraging me to find my own creative voice and design approach that sets me apart from others.”
The designer’s graduate collection, titled Mutant Artisanal was just a preview of what was to come. “My graduate collection was based on my attempt to genetically alter the code of dress, making it into what it might be in the apocalyptic future.” He was inspired by a trip to New York and took design cues from eerily masculine men stomping around the streets of Brooklyn. Their hunched backs and aggressive walks drove him to imagine “a post-human race which survives in a post-apocalyptic city”.
Since, his designs have been worn by industry heavyweights near and far, and in 2018, the designer was invited to show as part of VFiles’ NYFW catwalk show. “Each garment is created with the same mentality of designing a video game characters’ skins and outfits that juxtapose interesting silhouettes with surprising functions,” says Stone. Furthermore, his designs reflect a personal retro-futurism design style signified by the element of nostalgia. “I think retro-futurism is about looking back to that Y2K era in the present day and re-shaping it in a modern way, with functionalities in mind using today’s references and design lens,” he adds.
His AW21 collection, titled Painstation, is named after an arcade game that inflicts real physical pain on its players. The collection was produced during Covid lockdowns, in which the artist interweaved battles with his own mental health into the garments. “I had to gather multiple origins of my pain and tried to create design work fuelled by this pain, in order to stay put and go on.”
Every garment in the collection seemed a bit sexier than the last, paying tribute to Christian’s heartbreaks, sexual suppression during quarantine and his ability to create something beautiful from pain. “The general aesthetic of the collection captures that of the Y2K era, in which Painstation, the game, was first introduced. And it, in turn, has inspired me to keep going.”
What can we expect next from the emerging designer? He just released a Grindr-inspired t-shirt collection for pride month and promises to have plenty more projects on the way. As to when they’ll drop? It’s all in the game.
Photography courtesy of Christian Stone.