Embody: Ed Marler

Ari Versluis gets intimate with power duo Ed Marler and Matthew Josephs.

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They claim to spend most of their spare time “putting on pyjamas and getting wasted on the couch”, yet the names Ed Marler and Matthew Josephs are buzzing all over. From Ed’s vampy, well- received first collections to Matthew’s acclaimed editorials with the world’s top photographers and artists, this team is changing fashion for the better. Glamcult met the duo (also a couple in non-professional spheres) in London with photographer Ari Versluis. “Going out in East London, mutual friends, clubs, events…” That’s just how they met, according to Ed. “But it took us ages to speak to each other.” The designer and stylist might look inseparable today, but hooking up was certainly not a given, as Matthew divulges with a laugh: “You know when you already know somebody but you don’t speak to each other? We’re both quite difficult like that…”

Three years later, the boys share an apartment and a wardrobe. “It includes the clothes I make,” Ed professes. Both in terms of styling and design, there is a continuous sense of reciprocity between the two. “When it’s a busy time for me, it’s usually a quiet time for Matthew. When Matthew is busy, I’m winding down from fashion week.” They have the same degree (a BA from Central Saint Martins) and a visibly profound understanding of each other, but Ed and Matthew do disagree. “Ed is quite difficult! When I get up in the morning and put on an outfit, he’ll say: ‘That’s disgusting, change it.’” And while Matthew, like many a stylist, can swap preferences from day to day, Ed’s taste is more specific. “Because of the way I look and the things I make, people think I like crazy, froufrou and girly. That’s not necessarily the case.”

Despite their constant collaboration, Ed wouldn’t describe his partner as his muse. “When I’m designing I do have people in mind, but they’re fantasy people. I build characters out of bits of pieces. A girl is not just Kate Moss or my mum, yet they’re both part of the person I create. I draw all of them and save images as I go along.” Matthew adds, candidly: “I think with your last collection, you put a lot of yourself into it. Like a self-muse.” “Most of my ideas stem from getting dressed from day to day,” Ed confirms. “I don’t have a lot of money, so a lot comes from having to be resourceful. I’m forced to think outside the box. Can these two football tops be a party dress? The little characters I build are exaggerated parts of myself.”

All of this leaves Glamcult wondering: Is there really not a larger- than-life version of Matthew in Ed’s work? “Yeah, during my first season there was,” the designer laughs. “It was kind of how Matthew was dressing at the time. When I made that collection, we were just getting together. I think I was trying to—” Matthew is quick to finish the sentence with a chuckle: “—impress me.”

Photography by Ari Versluis

Words by Leendert Sonnevelt

Embody is an ongoing collaborative project by photographer Ari Versluis and Glamcult, exploring the relationship between influential contemporary fashion designers and those who influence their work. Stay tuned for more.

www.edmarler.co.uk

www.matthew-josephs.tumblr.com

www.ariversluis.com