Dr Samuel Ross (26 May 1991) is a British artist, designer and multidisciplinary creative director.
Ross is perhaps 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 by Erik Spikerman in 2012.
After being scouted at his degree show, he progressed into product design, where he started his formal career.
Ross was appointed Doctor of Arts in November 2021 by Professor Andrew Groves and Vice-Chancellor Dr Peter Bonfield of the University of Westminster.
Ross worked as a product designer for a number of commercial brands.
During this time, Ross balanced his career with his creative output, spanning experimental film, street art and garment design under several aliases.
In 2012, artist Virgil Abloh found Ross’ work through 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, including stage design, art projects, album artwork, and collections for several fashion designers. This internship eventually became 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 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 macro cities worldwide. The brand’s aesthetic is informed by Ross’ studies in graphic design, British class systems and brutalism.
On January 9th 2019, The British Fashion Council 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 fans and critics, totalling 200 stockists worldwide and physical flagship stores in 2022. It has resulted in collaborations with Nike, Converse, Dr Martens, Macintosh and Diesel’s Red Tag. Ross has received many accolades and honours for A-COLD-WALL*, including the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent Menswear 2018, the British 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 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.
Black British Artist Grants
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 early employee 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 the 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 and 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 C.B.E, CEO of The British Fashion Council, Professor Andrew Groves of the University of Westminster, Dame Gail Rebuck & Dr Paul Thompson of the Royal College of Art and Dr Gus Casely-Hayford O.B.E., Art Historian, Broadcaster and Director of V&A East.
As the programme enters its fourth campaign across 2022, it nears its first milestone of £100,000 directly donated to supporting exceptional Black British artists and entrepreneurs of colour, reaching 42 recipients.
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.
The industrial design studio has produced collaborative, commercial projects with LVMH Group, Apple Group and Nike Group, alongside independent technology-driven companies.
Honours and Awards
- 2022: Soho House Award – Established Change-maker Award – September.
- 2021: British Fashion Award – Leader of Change Award – December.
- 2021: Honorary PhD appointed by the University of Westminster – ‘Doctor of Arts’ – November.
- 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.
Acquisitions & Permanent collections
- 2022 – Victoria & Albert Museum.
- 2022 – Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
- 2021 – Dallas Museum of Art.
Direct all studio and gallery enquires to the following;