Robyn Lynch: Menswear SS22

This time last year, Robyn Lynch released a series of one-of-a-kind hybrids, created from deadstock and returned Rapha garments and surplus fabrics leftover from her previous collections. With factories shuttered and fabric shops closed, it was a clever way of creating a collection in the thick of a national lockdown. Was it stressful? Of course, the world was bloody on fire. But Lynch is a problem-solver, and actually, found the experience rather enjoyable. So enjoyable, in fact, she’s done it all again, this time with outdoorsy experts, Columbia.

“I’ve worn Columbia growing up and so have all my friends, it was like our unofficial school jacket,” says Lynch over Zoom. “We all had them and tone of my friend’s parents would go to America and get the new colourways for us that we couldn’t get in Ireland.”

Usually starting her collection research by trawling through her dad’s old photographs, this time around, Lynch – who is now receiving funding as part of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative – had to convince her mates to unlock their Facebook albums from their teen years. “We grew up in the Facebook era, so all our albums are completely up on Facebook, not edited, not filtered, nothing,” says Lynch, who stumbled upon a wealth of fuzzy shots of her and her pals proudly sporting their Columbia jackets.

Working with leftover deadstock from Columbia’s winter clearance, the collection is inter-seasonal, mixing heavier puffas with lightweight gilets, fleeces, and shorts. Aligning Columbia’s technical fabrics with the codes of her own brand, Lynch unpicked the dead stock jackets, before subbing each garment using a pattern from her debut AW19 collection, which was originally traced from one of her dad’s old jackets. She did the same for the trackie bottoms, which started as ski trousers, but now fall in Lynch’s signature slouched finish; the lining swapped out for a breathable, lightweight mesh.

Lynch matched up the Columbia pieces with leftover fabrics in her studio, as well as sustainable nylon made from ocean waste. The result is a cracking cohort of technical jackets which are spliced with traditional Irish cable knits, alongside bags and bucket hats made from surplus panels of Columbia garments.

Unable to get back to Ireland to shoot the collection, director Spencer Young suggested a location down in Dorset where he used to go camping as a teen. Inspired by that glowing Mr Burns meme – you know the one – models can be seen walking through a cave that’s projected with Dublin rave clips. It’s a clever reminder that activewear staple brands – Columbia, The North Face, Arc’teryx, the lot – have been adopted by teens and twentysomethings as going-out uniforms for yonks. Whether that’s to the club, a random field off the M1, or to the park for a piss-up.

Photography by Philip White.