In 1999 the Marxist academic collective Krisis Group published an essay entitled “Against Labor, Against Capital”. In it the authors argued that due to increasing automation a society based on labor was quickly becoming obsolete. Instead of looking to free workers from their oppression, as traditional Marxism espoused, the goal should be to end the labor society entirely. The only reason the world had not yet realized this was because of the economic and political elite, who have pacified the masses with “Silly fancy goods, designed to create the illusion of a full life”.
Eighteen years later, this phrase has appeared as a recurring motif in T-shirts, jackets, and hats in the Spring/Summer 2017 season of the streetwear brand Cav Empt. At first glance, it seems to be nothing more than another example of capitalism’s ruthless drive to commodify even the thoughts and actions of its opponents- just a more advanced version of a Sex Pistols shirt at H&M, in other words. Yet a closer look at Cav Empt’s history reveals that while garnering praise for their alluring graphics and uniquely cut and sewn garments, designers Sk8thing and Toby Feltwell have embedded a radical critique of consumer society into their clothing from the beginning. Cav Empt’s Spring/Summer 2017 season is the apex of a project that has been inherent in their clothing since its inception; an attempt to challenge the wearer into thinking seriously about the act of fashion fandom, desire and consumption under late capitalism.
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Retail apocalypse is ripping through the United States leaving brick-and-mortar boutiques and mall chain behemoths alike wobbling on the brink of irrelevance as online shopping becomes the norm for consumers. The Atlantic reported the first third of 2017 has witnessed nine major retail bankruptcies, major apparel companies’ stocks plunging to new lows, and flagship after flagship closing their doors. The meteoric rise of alternative, often community-run platforms for buying, selling and trading goods online has directly crippled the retail industry. Shoppers, who are already conditioned to shop on sale, now have access to secondhand designer items at mere fractions of retail prices.
Alternative marketplaces are nowhere near a new phenomenon. In the days before sites like eBay, Y! Japan and Grailed, dedicated shoppers scoured flea markets, thrift shops and consignment stores alike for designer threads amidst piles of musty windbreakers and knockoff COOGI sweaters. Each independent, enthusiast-run online shop carrying marked-up goods initially purveyed through Rakuten mirrors my own foray into the world of e-commerce. In the 2000s, my middle-school self was conducting a legally-questionable scheme of funneling East Asian street fashion back to the United States to shill at higher prices on LiveJournal. As the internet has matured, the number of alternative marketplaces has multiplied and with each iteration they become more targeted and communal.
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Japanese label Julius has been one of the originators in the gothninja look for some time. Their signature are their razor thin distressed leather jackets styled in a fashion that strikes between industrial and rock n roll. While the look has now been diffused down to countless new labels and store shelves, Julius remains one of the best doing it if you like your clothes dark ,drapey and raw. This coveted write-up comes via contributor Zachary Leachman who is an Illinois based artist and musician. See the rest of the write-up and more photos after the jump.
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We got a special post for fans of Ricky Owens today. In a previous roundup I selected the RO bomber as one of the top MA-1 designs out and today regular contributor Alex N has written the below detailed review about his personal version of the jacket from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection ‘Anthem’.
I found this piece after feeling defeated that the other Rick Owens bomber I’d been eyeing on some consignment shop’s website was sold out. I was browsing through all of the Rick pieces up for auction, and saw this, and it was definitely meant to be. I bought it instantly and within a week, I finally had in my possession a true “grail” piece.
Rick’s bombers had always been up there for me. The proportions and detailing were all so sleek and perfect. This piece in particular, from “Anthem” Spring/Summer 2011, is in cotton twill with satin lining. Lightweight and comfortable, fitting on me just so slightly oversized that I could fit a cardigan or sweater underneath, to stay warm in fall/winter as well.
The jacket features two vast interior pockets, two exterior front pockets, and two arm pockets, all using super substantial Raccagni zippers. The interior pockets are deep enough to fit a regular sized book, notepad, or small tablet. The arm zippers are actually functioning pockets which are deep enough to hide a pack of cigarettes, vape, phone or even a personal stash.
The carrying strap is a feature of most Rick jackets, and personally my favorite feature of any piece of outerwear. Such a simple concept that gets used over and over again; a convenience that is well over-looked by many. Another of my favorite aspects is the intricate seaming on the arms, there is a gusset on the underarm that extends to the entire forearm.
This has been my everyday jacket ever since I got it, and it will continue to be my everyday jacket until it gets torn apart in a freak accident or something. Actually, I would just piece it back together and continue wearing it regardless of its condition.
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It’s been a while since we’ve done a ‘Coveted’ feature here at Third Looks. Personally I’m always interested in seeing archival gear and standout pieces from collections by my favorite designers. While there’s those items that you obessess over with that become grails, there are also items that you never intended on buying which eventually become your favorites. Those are the ones you might find at a consignment shop like Tokio 7 in New York just browsing or something you spot through a browser search late night while suffering bouts of insomnia. I’m happy to post this rare Junya Watanabe women’s piece. I know he had some great pieces so I asked him to share how he came across this particular jumper and how his appreciation for it has grown since owning it.
This piece wasn’t really anything that I had been searching for, so in the traditional sense, it was not something I had ‘coveted’ for a while. One of my good friends actually sent me the link of the Rakuten listing, and when I had seen it, I knew I had to have it. I bought it about five minutes after seeing the listing for the first time. I think it was really love at first sight.
Upon receiving it, I was actually amazed at how heavy the package was. The fabric is heavy cotton, with heavy metal loop attachments and “backpack” straps. My favorite detail though is that the straps on the sleeves and the back are actually adjustable, you can pull the fabric up the length of the strap and fasten it with the buckle in order to producing an effect that is reminiscent to ruching. Despite this sweater being a women’s piece, it still is probably one of the most worn pieces in my wardrobe.
Photos by Alexander N, you can follow him on his tumblr Helmut Mang.
More detail shots after the jump
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Photographer Sven Eselgroth contacted me to share an interview with menswear brand Our Legacy he had conducted while he was touring Scandinavia this past summer. Sven visited lead designer and brand co-founder Christopher Nying at their studios. In the interview Christopher touches base on the brands roots, inspirations and future, all accompanying photos in this feature are by Sven.
Can you describe your design education?
I studied art and fashion communication and I think that led to the clothing because I was working with clothes during this time. At first I studied very fine art – sculpture and painting. Then graphic design, fashion communication, illustration and some photography. I didn’t really want to do that, but at the same time we started Our Legacy and made graphic t-shirts, which suited me quite well because it was really conceptual. We didn’t set out to purposely make clothing, it was more about expression. We tried to understand what sub-culture a particular t-shirt came from and create a look with it. The prints were inspired by lots of different ideas such as punk, skate, football hooligans in the 80s… Today we are coming back to those inspirations again. It doesn’t need to be very specific sub-cultures but I think there are new ones growing today that we’re not even aware of yet which could be quite interesting. Time feels like it goes faster today, people are more aware of what is happening socially and politically due to the newsfeeds.
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Friends: how many of us have them? by Lucas Tyson
(Editors note:Whodini may have some input on this)
I had an easy time making friends in college. Relating to others came naturally because we were all thrust into the similar circumstance of a brand new environment that we had to learn together, along with an abundance of free time to socialize. I finished school and still made friends, but they came at a considerably slower rate. Less free time, more stress. Over time the closest of my college friends began to leave New York, and my social life began to disintegrate. This was extremely troubling, because let’s face it, when you’re drinking alone at noon on a Sunday, it’s not called “brunch” it’s called “a drinking problem.”
After much introspection I realized the reason I wasn’t acquiring friends was internal: I was waiting for people to find me instead of pursuing them on my own. If you’re reading this you may be experiencing the same things. There is a method to making friends that works for me, and I’ve broken it down into four parts to ease the process for you. Click through to see what they are..
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Designers Marc Daniels and Ricky Henry revealed an edgier fashion-forward aesthetic for the maturing tech-centric line. With their roots firmly grounded in technical sportswear, the duo have confidently refined an aesthetic that appeals to the fashion crowd while remaining accessible and functional.
The garments on display highlighted Isaora’s heavy emphasis on advanced fabrication and performance-ready textiles, with nylon bonded outerwear, laser cut pieces, and waterproof shells. But these more advanced pieces were complimented by easy-wearing cut and sew, which allowed the collection to retain a relaxed feel amidst all the technical wizardry.
The presentation itself was a perfect compliment to the clothing: sharp, dramatic, and moody, with high-key lighting and an emphasis on geometry and line.
All photos and words by Daniel Small
See the rest of the photos after the jump
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A common New Years resolution I hear is “I want to read more”. Lucky for you resident It girl Rachel Hodin is here with five literacy picks that will make your commute on the G-train a little more bearable (and that’s saying alot). Click through the jump for her selections.
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IT GIRL TOKYO: Caca Co
Third Looks is going international with our latest IT GIRL feature. I’m proud to introduce Caca Co from Tokyo. It is a dream for many women to work in the fashion industry and one that Caca is pursuing to the fullest in Asia. A special thank you goes out to Rajiv Sawhney for producing this feature and making it look fantastic. He will be contributing content from the Japanese fashion scene and documenting his personal journey in the creation of his own namesake label, Sawhney. -Rocky
Words by Rajiv Sawhney
As a budding menswear designer, I had the opportunity to meet Caca, a half-Japanese/half-Chinese fashion student and model through a personal connection several months ago. We quickly became friends given our mutual interests. What struck me most about Caca, aside from her cute looks, was her maturity at a still relatively young age and her deep knowledge and appreciation for the Tokyo scene. Naturally, when I bounced ideas with Rocky about a potential IT GIRL TOKYO edition, Caca immediately came to mind as the first candidate. With the help of fellow friend and photographer, Daisuke Ito, we took to the streets of Daikanyama to bring you the first IT GIRL TOKYO.
Firstly, can you give a quick introduction about yourself?
My name is Caca. I was born in Xian, China and grew up in Tsingtao. My first time visiting Japan was during my sophomore year of high school. I also spent time in Fukuoka and Kyoto for high school and undergraduate college. Currently I’m a graduate student at Bunka Fashion College (http://www.bunka-fc.ac.jp) studying fashion management. To enrich my life and social experience I’m also a part-time model and love to party, enjoying the energy of fashion through Tokyo’s nightlife.
What made you want to come to Japan to study? Did you always want to study fashion?
I wanted to come to Japan for a very simple reason. Since I was a child, I loved Japanese animation and wanted to become an anime artist. However, after studying animation for two years at Kyoto Seika University (http://www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp), I realized that it would be difficult to transmit my points of view and concepts to audiences unless I became an animation director. Meanwhile, like other young girls, I started to take more interest in my make up and styling and gradually became more interested in fashion. Ultimately fashion became my true calling and I quit animation school to study at Bunka. Even though my friends were surprised by my decision, they continue to support what I’m doing. I also want to thank my father for forgiving my willfulness and for continuing to support me.
Outer: Men’s Number (N)ine black destroyed leather napoleon riders jacket
Top: Loveless (http://www.loveless-shop.jp)
Pants: MNG Collection
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Hat: Loveless (http://www.loveless-shop.jp)
You are now finishing up your final year at Bunka Fashion College. How has the experience been?
Every day I’m exposed to new things and the curriculum is very meticulous and professional. Students can elect to study from a wide variety of majors including design, styling, etc. I chose management as my major. Unlike other majors, we have the opportunity to hold shows, visit shops to do field surveys, and go on the streets to take photographs. The most interesting aspect of my studies has been the analysis of seasonal trends and the emphasis on the brand creation process. My dream is to start my own brand.
You also recently interned at Mark Styler, a major Japanese women’s wear company. Can you describe the experience?
Mark Styler (http://mark-styler.co.jp) is the parent company of my favorite Japanese fashion brand, EMODA (http://www.emoda-japan.com). Through an introduction from my professor, I was honored to receive a month long internship program at the Mark Styler head office to help with their 2012 Autumn/Winter show. Through this internship, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, particularly the unglamorous side of the business. In order to execute a perfect fashion show, every department was extremely busy. I worked in the media department and learned it’s not enough to have a good designer or pattern maker, but also an excellent media department to successfully market a brands image. Frankly speaking, very little differentiates fashionable Japanese brands these days. Therefore, how the media/publicity department markets a brand’s image has become increasingly important. After the fashion show was successfully completed, I realized that all the hard work was worth it. It was a very memorable experience and a great learning opportunity.
Outer: Men’s Dries Van Noten camel wool double breasted coat
Top: Men’s Sawhney navy lace and velvet button-down dress shirt
Skirt: The Dayz Tokyo (http://www.thedayztokyo.com)
Shoes: BeLLE (http://www.belle-co.jp)
What are your thoughts on Tokyo fashion culture? What are the differences you see compared with China?
In Tokyo, each area has its own characteristic style. For example, in ladies fashion there is Shibuya 109 style (http://www.shibuya109.jp), Harajuku style, Aoyama/Omotesando luxury style, Ebisu/Daikanyama pretty style, etc. In addition, each style has been shaped by the area’s history and culture. China has witnessed rapid growth recently but for the older generation unique characteristics in Chinese fashion culture did not exist. Rather, fashion was described more broadly as Korean fashion, Japanese fashion, European fashion, etc. Compared to China, Tokyo fashion has much more individuality and originality, which I think is amazing. That said, I think the Japanese are losing to the current generation of Chinese in terms of foreign intelligence gathering and global fashion interest.
What about menswear? What do you find attractive or interesting about modern Tokyo menswear?
I think women are constantly unfaithful in their loyalty with brands. But for men, once they fall in love with a brand, they can be a loyal customer for a very long time. As a result while women’s wear emphasizes design and styling, menswear puts more importance on quality material used and quality of construction. In a private or work setting, women look at a man’s sense of taste rather than his trendiness. A man that wears well made clothing or shoes gives a woman a sense of security which is a plus. I also think there is a sense of charm. I feel that Tokyo men put a lot of emphasis on styling and coordination. Tokyo men take advantage of accessories, hats, etc to show their style.
Outer: Men’s Mihara Yasuhiro rabbit & goat fur down vest
Parka: Design Works
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
You received a job offer to work for Mark Styler after graduation. What are your thoughts about the future?
That’s correct. I received a job offer in Mark Styler’s global operations department, but recently I’ve been considering the business potentials in China and felt that working in Japan would deter me from my dream, so this month I declined the offer. After graduation, I plan to return back to China and I’m thinking of starting my own brand. At any rate, I think it’s necessary for me to understand the local Chinese market and develop the necessary personal connections.
Special thanks to Daisuke Ito of Trival Inc. for taking time out of his busy schedule to help with the shoot and more importantly Caca for modeling the men’s outerwear during this frigid Tokyo winter. Best of luck in your future endeavors!
Styling: Rajiv Sawhney designer of Sawhney (http://www.sawhney.jp)
Model: Caca Co (http://ameblo.jp/cocaca)
Photographer: Daisuke Ito of Trival Inc. (http://www.dai-ito.com)