Tis the season of collaborations. For A/W 17, we've already had Supreme x Louis Vuitton, and the next day, Junya Watanabe dropped a whole set of new hook-ups, from The North Face to Levi’s and Japanese label VAN. 'It’s a fuck boi’s wet dream,' quipped one attendee. Like most things in fashion right now, you can blame it on Vetements. Sure, collaborations are nothing new, but doing a show dedicated to multiple hook-ups is their brainchild.
I’m sure Watanabe’s pieces will sell well - after all, they took their inspiration from the street and brands that are popular in the 'real world', to use a cliché, rather than the 'fashion world.' They’ll appeal to shoppers who like anything branded with ‘limited edition.’ But I took issue with the show. Some reviewers gushed that it deserved praise because the models, in their jeans, hoodies and cosy coats, already looked like men on the street. A white-washed street? It felt truly uncomfortable to see a collection that drew so heavily on black culture and hip hop styles modelled by a sea of white models, especially given that the soundtrack that helped define the mood featured black artists. Indeed, some badges, available to buy separately from the clothes for the entry-level shopper read 'All Gravy', a phrase that can be traced back to Old English or, for millennials, to that classic 2002 Romeo feat. Christina Milian song. The brands that fashion is now pawing over - often streetwear and sportswear labels - have developed their history and heritage because of the choices of broad communities and subcultures. Their stories have been twisted and built partly due to their appropriation by key groups. Marketing strategies don’t matter, people do. In watching those white models walk the runway in clothing styles laced with such a rich, vibrant history I felt cheated. Sometimes, no matter how good the clothes, a collection can make a misstep that overshadows any good design. This was case in point.