Dr Samuel Ross (26 May 1991) is a British artist, designer and multidisciplinary creative director. Ross is best known for his luxury menswear brand A-COLD-WALL* which compounds garment design, large installations and sound design in an approach frequently summarised as a ‘Material Study for Social Architecture’.
Early Life and Education
Ross was born in Brixton, London in 1991 to second-generation Windrush parents, of Caribbean descent. In 2009, he began his studies in Graphic Design and Illustration at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he graduated with first class honours and was awarded the FSG design award in 2012. After being scouted at his degree show he progressed into product design, where he started his formal career.
Ross worked as a product designer for a number of industrial brands including Wilkinson and Beko kettles. During this time, Ross balanced his career with his own creative output, spanning experimental film, street art and garment design under a number of aliases. In 2012, artist Virgil Abloh found Ross’ work on Instagram and proceeded to employ Ross to work for him as an intern and then later, as a first design assistant.
DONDA & Virgil Abloh
Through Abloh, Ross worked on various interdisciplinary projects which included stage design, art projects, album artwork as well as the collections for a number of fashion designers. This internship eventually grew into a full-time role and Ross became a design assistant to Abloh for his projects with Kanye West’s design agency, DONDA, and later for his fashion label, Off-White. As Abloh’s assistant, Ross also contributed to various projects for Pyrex Vision, Been Trill, Benji B, HOOD BY AIR, Stüssy, YEEZY and A.P.C.
In 2014, Ross founded his own luxury menswear label, A-COLD-WALL*. The concept behind A-COLD-WALL* began as a think piece exploring the societal issues, disparities and realities that Ross saw people facing in inner-city London and in macro cities across the world. The brand’s aesthetic is informed by Ross’ studies in graphic design, British class systems and Brutalism
On January 9th 2019, it was announced that Tomorrow London Holdings acquired a “substantial minority stake” in A-COLD-WALL*. Ross has since moved production from London to Vicenza, Italy, a move which has been noted to reflect the growing maturity of A-COLD-WALL*.
Since its inception, A-COLD-WALL* has gained a loyal following from both fans and critics, totalling 136 stockists worldwide in 2021 and has resulted in collaborations with Nike, Converse, Dr Martens, Macintosh and Diesel’s Red Tag. Ross has received a number of accolades and honours for A-COLD-WALL*, including British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent Menswear 2018, Britsh Fashion Award under ‘people of the year’ 2020, and the BFC/GQ Fashion Fund Award, 2019. A-COLD-WALL* has also been the recipient of NEWGEN’s bursary for the periods 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.
Through the success of A-COLD-WALL*, Ross has been able to support and give back to young creatives in the industry. In 2019, Ross donated his entire 2019/2020 NEWGEN bursary to Eastwood Danso, a young menswear designer and mentee of Ross.
In 2020, Ross announced a series of initiatives to be taken by himself and A-COLD-WALL* in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The brand provided ten grants for independent Black-owned businesses valued at £2,500. Additionally, A-COLD-WALL* made a £10,000 donation to “our people on frontline” as part of its Black Lives Matter financial aid program.
In 2021 Ross expanded upon grant and funding matters by forming an advisory board to further integrate exceptional talent into reputable dialogues linked to career & opportunity advancement for Black British and POC artists – this time maturing the initiative through the formation of an academic and institutional & advisory board. Current board members include Tim Marlow Director of the Design Museum, Caroline Rush CEO of the British Fashion Council, Proffesor Andrew Groves of the University of Westminster, Dame Gail Rebuck & Dr Paul Thompson of the Royal College of Art.
Hublot Design Award
In 2020, Hublot announced Ross as a brand ambassador. Ross’ first creation for the brand was a sculpture which Ross describes as telling the story of Hublot, “using simple, clean lines, with a monochrome palette of hues, a touch of vivid colour and a play on oversized dimensions.” The partnership will see Ross working across a number of projects including watch designs, in-store installations and sculptures.
Ross debuted his design-led venture, SR_A (Samuel Ross & Associates) at the Hublot Prize exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery in 2019. SR_A is a studio operating within the fields of luxury industrial design, interior installation, architecture, furniture design, sound design and sculptural/visual communication.
In Autumn 2018, Ross launched POLYTHENE* OPTICS’, a sister brand to A-COLD-WALL*. The brand is defined by its graphic-heavy design and retails at a lower price point. Ross describes the brand as being, “more textured and extroverted and a bit more relaxed and fun.” The brand debuted it’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection with a collaboration with Places+Faces and has since collaborated with CLOT’s CLOTEE line in 2019.
Samuel Ross x Oakley
Ross collaborated with Oakley on three collections across 2018 and 2019 which focused on functional and technical design and included a range of outerwear, t-shirts and accessories. Ross continues to design for Oakley.
In 2017, Ross launched Concrete Objects with designer Jobe Burns which focuses on translating ideas into items that are unique but have everyday functionality. Their work is defined by their shared interest in industrialist, brutalist and Bauhaus aesthetics.
Honours and Awards
- 2021: BRITISH FASHION AWARD – LEADER OF CHANGE AWARD – December 2021.
- 2021: Honorary Ph.D appointed by The University of Westminster, for ‘Doctor of Arts’ – November 2021.
- 2020: BRITISH FASHION AWARD – PEOPLE OF THE YEAR (PHILANTHROPY) – WINNER.
- 2020: GQ USA FASHION AWARD – WINNER.
- 2020: INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE 2020 – FINALIST.
- 2019: BFC NEWGEN 2019/2020 RECIPIENT.
- 2019: BFC GQ FASHION FUND AWARD – WINNER.
- 2019: FORBES 30 UNDER 30 EUROPE.
- 2019: HUBLOT LVMH DESIGN PRIZE — WINNER.
- 2018: BFC NEWGEN 2018/2019 RECIPIENT.
- 2018: ANDAM GRAND PRIZE – NOMINEE.
- 2018: LVMH PRIZE – FINALIST.
- 2018: BRITISH FASHION AWARD – EMERGING TALENT MENSWEAR – WINNER.
- 2017: BFC NEWGEN 2017/2018 RECIPIENT.
- 2017: BRITISH FASHION AWARD FOR EMERGING TALENT MENSWEAR – NOMINEE.
- Virgil Abloh
- Takashi Murakami
- Hiroshi Fujiwara
- Daniel Arsham
- Architectural Association School of Architecture