photography ANDREW WERNER
text RISHABH MANOCHA
digital art, model RAZ KEREN
'The Future of Fashion' is a term that tosses around on many occasions, but few understand its connotations. Of the few, four students from PARSONS SCHOOL of DESIGN took this concept, dissected it and envisaged the way we determine the ensuing element of design.
Four unique identities came together under one umbrella - the mentorship of master pattern cutter, tailor and sartorial narrator, Mr. RAZ KEREN. Under KEREN's guidance, the editorial featuring the work of WILLIAM STAUTBERG, JIAHAO WAN, KEEHYUN KIM and KWAI YUEN CHAN came to life. It not only tied a thread of commonality amongst their work, but also created a visionary sartorial landscape.
STAUTBERG looked at quintessential menswear ready-to-wear patterns from the 1970s, and revamped them for the gentleman of today. Corseted jumpsuits, sporty yet dandy millinery and playful pinstripes formed the backbone of his collection. Using contemporary techniques such as Japanese knitting from Shima Seiki further expounded the usage of modern mechanism on impressions of the past. The hardware heavy collection, placed in space-scape evokes a bionic man. His abilities are paranormal, his gaze like steel, and his tailoring of precision and exaggeration.
“The keywords are: comical, futuristic, cyber, a little sporty, plus a tiny bit of ghost-like gothic“ says JIAHAO WAN. Inspired by the Y2K phenomenon, WAN’s collection is unsettling and insightful. The fear that artificial intelligence might well supersede human brainpower is indeed daunting. And to further this, WAN extensively uses comic references juxtaposed against bleak, techno fabrics. Effective typographic interplay forms ‘cyber rain’ in his designs. Double front hoodies, hidden zippers, clever laser cutting lend his work the dismal, unexpected yet pensive appeal. The model is possessed as he holds a beam of light.
Imagine a marriage of houndstooth and lace. KEEHYUN KIM served as the priest of this marriage bringing together two opposite sides of the spectrum, one ultra masculine, the other rather feminine. In blending the two, a new textile was created. This subtly rebellious feeling accentuates much of KIM’s staples in the man’s wardrobe. Soft shoulders, supple leathers, sheer trousers redefine KIM’s man. Ergonomically informed and finely constructed, there is a stately reserve to this rebellion. Placed as a softwear engineer of sorts, the garments adorn Mr. KEREN as a consciousness in an unconscious surrounding.
Hong Kong and its peculiar police force became a source of creating contemporary menswear for KWAI YUEN CHAN. British military vests fused with the 90s subculture of the Chinese Mafia informed CHAN’s neat construction and vivid prints. Seeing the role of designer as reporter, the garments are almost messengers in and of themselves. Waterproof materials, modular elements, and graphic screen printing placed against juggling crystals kindle a quest for striking a balance. This is a balance of the east and the west, the obvious and the subtle, the modern and the futuristic.
KEREN states that it was crucial to bring together these particular renditions of the future of design to inform the reader of the multiplicity of perspective. What is to come may be inexplicable, but it seems that the timelessness of design will always entail the integrity of construction, the relevance of subcultures, and the constant form-function dialogue.