A few weeks ago, Arthur Yates, the 26-year-old founder of unisex shirt label Bruta, taught an art class on the top floor of Liberty. The attendees were a decidedly mixed bag. A couple of sketching enthusiasts turned up, alongside a collection of ardent fans who have been doggedly following the brand via Instagram since its conception. There was even one girl writing her dissertation on Bruta. It might be customary for the big fashion houses to be subjected to rigorous academic study, but it’s a rare honour for a brand only in its second year of business.
The eclectic turnout is testament to Bruta’s ethos, which Yates has judiciously cultivated, painstakingly imbuing his brand with a narrative that has trickled down the avenues of social media and spread holistically via word of mouth. Bruta’s story started on Savile Row: Yates was inspired by its seasonless designs that are timeless rather than trend-focused. Taking tailoring as his starting point he decided, simulaneously, to undercut tradition, festooning his sharply-cut, gender-fluid shirts with crawling colourful bunches of flowers, and stitching graphic motifs along the collars and sleeves.
Bruta’s latest collection was born from the numerous roadtrips that Yates and his girlfriend Phoebe Saatchi take around Italy. Referencing Italian art and iconograph—as well as world-famous World Cup stars—its shades of pastel pinks and blues are reminiscent of the brightly painted houses that tumble down the cliff faces of the Italian Riviera. One particuarly whimisical shirt is emboridered with swirling strands of spaghetti, which are interdispersed with round, red cherry tomatoes.
Too often young labels soar and then recede back into obscurity. By stitching his personality into the very seams of his shirts, Yates has founded a brand that will last, and probably boost that girl to the top of her class, too.—Isobel Thompson
More like this:
Photo: Camilla Gonzalez