C2H4 is a utilitarian streetwear brand unlike any other. I felt inclined to shed light on this brand due to its most recent campaign titled “Future City Uniform” for FW21. This retro-futuristic take is not an unpopular approach, however, I haven’t quite seen it done like this before. In this campaign, C2H4 displayed their creative capabilities to not only create garments never seen before but also direct a campaign that perfectly reflected its ethos.
C2H4 was founded in 2014 by Chinese designer Yixi Chen. The name of the brand was derived from the chemical compound ethylene. Yixi Chen and her team see themselves as chemists because chemists mix together compounds to form a new chemical compound or reaction. In the same way, she believes that they mix together different media and cultures and create garments out of them. Yixi Chen sees fashion as a passion, though she doesn’t believe herself to be a designer. Her real goal is to use her designs and creations to push humanity forward and fashion is her medium to achieve that. I don’t believe I have ever come across a designer with such a mindset, which made me come to love her and her work more.
Likewise, C2H4 manages to employ utility into each of their collections with an eye for “wearable devices” while exploring new functions. From the straps and concealed pockets to their creative prints, they are able to create a long-term and sustainable brand. As a result, you witness a synthesis of utility and art.
C2H4 is a brand that has gained renown previously due to its futuristic garments and its ability to create new designs from old pieces. A prime example would be the collaboration that first caught the industry’s eyes, their collaboration with Kappa, titled “Undecayable” where they upcycled kappas clothing and added their own utilitarian and futuristic twist to it. This collaboration catapulted them to “giant” status despite flying under the radar not so long ago.
I cannot talk about C2H4 without mentioning some of their past collaborations. It seems as though every collaboration they have is successful. Namely, their Mastermind Japan collaboration is extremely popular and a favourite of mine. Although, they have continuously collaborated with vans as well. If you don’t check out the brand, I urge you to at least look into these two brand collaborations.
C2H4 has a story behind each collection motivated by science and influenced by different cultures, movies and media. This results in innovative creations despite the restriction of labels such as “menswear” or “utilitarian”. They have had collections based on future timelines, gravity, and even human enhancement. There is no limit to their future exploits, for which I plan on sitting front row to watch.