Saturday, 7 August 2010

Introducing RetroProgressive

Susan Muncey, blogger, trend forecaster and founder-curator of the magnificent online curiosity shop,, is the latest columnist to join the ranks of The Dabbler.

Her exclusive style column - RetroProgessive - will appear every Saturday.

This is Style, Dabbler-style. Expect the beautiful, the strange and, above all, the unexpected...

Something for the Trend Hunter

Any mention of the word ‘Rohan’ conjures up images of boringly functional outdoorsy menswear. But Rohan Chhabra is ex-winner of the Avant Garde Collection Award at Delhi’s Pearl Academy of Fashion, and has just completed an MA in Industrial Design at Central St Martins in London.

Rohan aims to ‘question ethics, create dilemma, provoke debate, raise awareness and allow design to deal with more complex human emotions and value’ with his ‘Embodying Ethics’ collection. This consists of pieces that ‘replace the values of consumption and destruction with reflection and appreciation.’

Designs include a ‘socially responsive’ Hunter Jacket that magically transforms into a ram’s head wall mount, along with a handy Sheep Organ Bag.

But it’s the Cow Leg Trouser that makes me wonder if new designers can sometimes be a little too creative - and what they’ll eventually end up doing with their curiously innovative minds.

For more Susan and for style, fashion, gifts and other curiosities, visit


  1. Any mention of the word ‘Rohan’ conjures up images of boringly functional outdoorsy menswear.

    Just hold on one moment there mush, put up with personal insult I will but any, I say any, derogatory comments about the saintly Paul Howcrofts company will have the hounds of hell unleashed, saintly of course is an accurate description, Paul having bent his motor promptly popped his clogs.
    Paul and his missus created one of the greatest, although at first unnoticed revolutions in rough terrain schmutter, mainly because of the mareials used. Originally sold from his little shop in Long Preston, both he and Sarah serving behind the counter. I have used virtually every type of mountaineering equipment available from 1950s ex commando to the latest pretty stuff aimed at the wannabees. Three names stand out, the original Rohan clothing, Mountain Equipment and the American company Trat. Rohan could be used in the most extreme Alpine conditions, it works.
    When Rohan were sold and became Mall fodder the rot set in.

    Actually, I agree with you about boring Brit, The only thing left of the original company is the name.

    PS..can we assume that discount is available, two for the price of one maybe?

  2. You'll have to take it up with Susan, Malty. I merely posted her column and know little of such matters.

  3. I guess those who list mountaineering amongst their interests may prefer to describe Rohan's designs as 'usefully functional' - As for any prettification, the garments are hardly stylish.. and seriously boring set against the quirky functionality of young designer Rohan Chhabra's curious creations. Of course, 'style' and 'boring' are both functions of taste.

  4. PS Thanks for the useful background history malty. By the way, where is Long Preston? Mush? Are you from Southampton?

  5. The sole purpose of Howcrofts original Rohan, Susan was to provide clothing that adequately met the performance requirements of the climbing and hill walking fraternity, as was Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison Berghaus growing as it did out of the LD mountain centre and, like Rohan, eventually being swallowed up by the big people. The raison d'ĂȘtre was performance, often life saving. Now of course other forces have come into play, presentation for instance and who can argue against that, except perhaps when presentation overrides performance.

    Anyhoo, as I sit here in my beige cardigan and corduroy trousers who am I to pontificate about fashion, nice seeing you join the good ship daily moan, I'm sure our Saturdays will be that much brighter in future.

  6. No Susan, Tyneside, Long Preston is in the Yorkshire Dales, pretty, Dalesy sort of town.

  7. Those Cow Leg Trousers are the most unsettling item of clothing I've ever encountered. But I'm not entirely sure why.

  8. Hmmn, such a mixture of influences here it's hard to get an angle: calling all Yorkshiremen who are mountain-climbing bank robbers with rickets who also often carried a bag of offal around, there is now a clothing line especially for you.

    Even so, clothes that speak of delight seem surprising rare in Puritan-touched old northern Europe so good on this designer for having a go. I've always liked ikat. Imagine what a party of Alpinistas would look like when wearing double-dyed gowns from the Silk Road!

  9. Beauty, as someone once said or at least it was said that someone had, is in the eye of the beholder, which raises an eyebrow at the fact that most of the frocks sold by Princess Diane for charity ended up in the wardrobes of transvestites.

  10. And I thought we were going to be talking about hunters and cowboys... and that Nige was the only one obsessed with trannies. Anyway, you might like a peek at this transformational video too. Adds a whole new dimension to dressing up and role play.

  11. I wonder what the tiny-headed fellow in the photograph intends to hunt with a sawed-off shotgun. Socially reponsive? More likely sociopathic.