The fetishization of everyday objects is nothing new for fashion, but the trend towards using materials you might find in a hardware store is peaking right this very moment—particularly in menswear and streetwear. Raf Simons just dropped a roll of designer duct tape (printed with “RSVP Youth Project”) for 0 a pop. Earlier this week, Adidas Originals released its new commercial, in which Young Thug wears an outfit constructed entirely from clear plastic bags—like the kind reserved for recyclables. That’s just the tip of the plastic bag iceberg.
Demna Gvasalia has been generating headlines for months by creating luxury versions of paper or plastic shopping totes. Earlier this year, the Georgian-born, Zurich-based designer notoriously sent a k cobalt blue leather duffel down the Balenciaga runway that that bore an uncanny resemblance to Ikea’s iconic nylon carryall. The Internet was quick to call it out, and the reverse trickle down effect was real.
Before we knew it, savvy street stylers were whipping up the original ##jcicontent##.99 “Frakta” bags into bona fide DIY couture looks. [Seriously, there are entire Instagram feeds devoted to this stuff.] Building on its sudden fashion hype, Ikea announced it would be redesigning the “Frakta” in collaboration with none other than Off-White’s Virgil Abloh.
Abloh is another key player taking the utilitarian concept to the next level. His Spring Off-White menswear show was a moving tribute to refugees, featuring safety orange looks inspired by the life vests used to save Syrian émigrés making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Transforming a flotation device into something poetically cool? Very Off-White, and very 2017.
Earlier this week, Abloh quietly opened his first-ever Off-White store in NYC in a Soho gallery space (he’s renamed it Em Pty Gallery). Inside, you’ll find Off-White items like the signature measuring tape belts artfully displayed on industrial cases Abloh created himself using Home Depot colors and Home Depot-worthy materials like tubing, cement, and contractor buckets. Abloh also has a newish handbag collab out with longtime friend (and fellow creative multi-hyphenate) Heron Preston, who famously partnered with New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) last year on a collection full of repurposed trash collector uniforms and souped-up surplus accessories.
Between this and the resurgence of workwear brands like Carharrt and Dickies, the goal for guys these days is basically to look like an art school kid who has joined the construction force—but doesn’t work with his hands, of course. The whole utilitarian moment is steeped in irony, but perhaps turning low brow items into something covetable is what fashion is all about after all.END
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createdAt:Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:53:27 +0000