Mark Fast Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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In November, Mark Fast opened his first standalone store in Beijing, the first of many he’s planning to launch over the next 12 months as he expands his retail footprint in East Asia with the help of a new business partner in the region. At a time of rapid growth for the Canadian-born designer’s 12-year-old brand, there’s only one downside: he hasn’t yet been able to visit the store due to the ongoing travel restrictions. “It seems very surreal to see it all growing when I’m not there, and I really miss going to China, but it’s all very exciting,” Fast says.

For his latest collection back in his adopted hometown of London, Fast was looking to a different kind of journey, however: one that took him twenty thousand leagues under the sea. While Fast’s calling card was once his inventive use of knitwear to craft clingy, party-ready mini dresses, he’s been carefully expanding his range to include more playful, sporty pieces and a growing menswear line too. But it’s his “demi-couture” pieces that dazzle most, here coming in the form of extravagant dresses featuring slinky knitted bustiers that erupted into feathers and sequins in a spectrum of greens and blues that carried a distinctly underwater shimmer.

“When I found myself stripping everything back in my life, I found myself really craving nature and the basics of the earth,” Fast explained of his primary source of inspiration. “I started to obsess over researching underwater creatures and the deep blue sea, just discovering all these mysteries that I never knew and different animals I had never heard of.” Even if travel is looking increasingly likely later this year, and Fast may find himself able to toast the launch of his new stores sooner rather than later, for now he’s happy to be inspired by the unlikely rabbit holes he’s headed down during quarantine. In his own words: “It’s all about finding beauty in the unknown.”

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