During the final leg of the Men’s Spring 2018 fashion season, style inspired by the current pop culture climate continued to be the ongoing trend. Personally, I saw the collections reinforcing the idea of utility clothing. Fashion Godfather Raf Simons, for example, re-introduced layering, mixing and matching oversize coats and trenches with jerseys to allow streetwear to transition into everyday wear.
Death to Tennis used their collection presentation as way to incorporate the current phenomenon of how obsessed we are with social media. Models posed in mirrors, checking themselves out, while other models stood on pedestals taking selfies and sharing texts with fellow models. The unconventional socialization tied perfectly with the unconventional looks of the collection.
One of the highlights of NYFW was Steve Aoki's very political fashion presentation and performance. If you don’t know, Steve Aoki is a major deal in the music industry. From his collaborations with artists like Migos to his lit residency in Las Vegas, everyone that is somebody wants to work with this guy. Using his music and fashion platforms to promote awareness was a no-brainer for this artist, so he shut down a street in downtown NYC to do just that.
Aoki ventured into the fashion world with his own clothing line entitled Dim Mak Collection (DMC). Steve’s DMC collection “is for rebels, rock stars, and risk-takers.” Essential pieces of clothing are reinvented in a way not only to inspire others to take risk when it comes to personal style but also share a message with each piece.
On Tuesday night, the iconic DJ hosted a runway show/concert and shut down a whole entire New York City block. The fashion concert, as I would call it, included a marching band and celeb guest performers like Ma$e. (Guess Diddy is not the only guy who can pull Ma$e on stage.)
Steve’s newest collection fuses American normcore (what Steve calls the "dad shoes" and cargo shorts) with Japanese inspired influences for the jeans and hoodies. The collection provides a global perspective relating to what is going on in our world today, particularly American Politics.
“When we were creating this mood board, obviously on our minds was the Trump presidency and this regression, this state of chaos and how to find paradise through this difficult era we’re in. The imagery is based around that,” Aoki told one reporter.
I was able to chat with Steve about his collection and the merging of politics and fashions.
BET: Can you describe the mood of the collection?
Steve Aoki: This is our fifth collection, it’s called “Paradise Found,” it’s indicative of the times we live in right now. We are living in times of chaos and violence. So it’s the dichotomy of finding paradise, hence the name “paradise found”; it’s about finding hope when dealing with [these] real life situations. For example, jackets are adorned with the national anthem’s “land of the free,” and shirts and hoodies say, “paradise” and “any means necessary.” There are also shirts featuring palm trees made of razor blades and barbed wire, and teeth-baring guard dogs. Even the shirts with boy scout patches —symbolizes how we are trying to organize as a group to actually find that hope and have a positive outlook through all adversity we are facing. And it’s great to be able to combine it with my music and new album.
BET: I know your brand is about rebels, skateboarders, and risk takers. How would you describe the DMC male?
S: If you look at the collections, the DMC male can instantly tell if something in the collection is for him or not. It’s not for the status quo guy. You would want to wear it because it's a part of our culture! Like music, when you hear it — you’re either into it or not. Fashion is the same way! You either want to wear it or it’s not for me! And that’s OK!
BET: What’s your personal influence on the brand?
S: This is the culture I grew up in. I grew up with the punk kids as one, where not many people wanted to hang out with us. We really believe in what we did; and we fought and live it! So you have to live in these clothes. As an artist, it’s important to be able to express yourself not just with music but fashion as well.
BET: How do you feel about return of '80s fashion and becoming a big deal as it relates to men’s style?
S: Everything comes in sizes! If '80s come back — or dad pants come back, or dad shoes, or dad hats — or something you never seen come back — you just put your own flare or twist on it! That’s how I see it! Other brands like Off-White, who go back in time for inspiration, instead of having very chiseled face models in their shows, they hired a 65-year-old male to wear their clothes and walk down the runway. That progression is incredible! Because it is art in a way, it’s not just something you buy it’s something you experience! I am inspired by those designers who think that way.
BET: Since your brand focuses on the risk takers, what is the biggest fashion risk you've taken personally with your style?
S: [laughs] I can’t think of just one — I definitely took some risk and wore some clothes that didn’t vibe out with me completely. We got to always think outside of the box — for instance, the shoes I chose for the models, someone may say “that’s ugly” or “my dad would wears those shoes” [laughs] — that can be a disaster to someone, but it’s about owning the disaster! If you own the disaster, stylewise it can be a game changer!
(Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images for Oath)
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