Launched in 2016 by founder and designer Terry Shin, Black Merle is a brand that tackles anti-fashion like none other. Black Merle is a noun defined as a dark-coated dog with irregular streaks and specks. Through their apocalyptic, neo-maximalist theme of “more is more” as stated by Shin himself they succeeded in releasing fashion from the shackles of its definition.
With an emphasis on usability, recreation and deconstruction they are a new take on anti-fashion with a military-like theme never seen before. What I mean is, although the titans of anti-fashion Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo defined what anti-fashion is today, Terry Shin took said definition and dare I say…elevated it with Black Merle.
A Vancouver and Seoul based brand that prides itself on its ability to customize and its emphasis on blackness, though these two attributes may narrow their variety in the eyes of some, they have been able to break the preconceived notion everyone had of them with their newer collections. Previously, with their FW 17 collection, “Incarnate”, I could liken them more to Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist, Undercover and Raf Simons with a focus on military and tactical wear. This is not to say that they did not properly execute this collection, their clothes were literal pieces of art. I am only stating the relation to the ethos of this collection with other brands. I particularly loved his first collection more as he incorporated the most black pieces into it.
However, with their newer garments of F/W 19 and F/W 20 they were able to embody the values they stood by. Displaying out of the world clothing that cannot be likened to any designer past or present. Seeing the relative fame they have garnered in the past two years, Black Merle has just begun and there is no sign of them stopping. Terry Shin has his hand on the pulse of the industry and is unwilling to let go.
Post Archive Faction, a name that is currently being echoed in the fashion scene. From their deconstructed garments, futuristic set designs and anti-fashion persona they hit the floor running with their launch in 2018. A Korean based menswear label designed by Dongjoon Lim and Sookyo Jeong. Dongjoon Lim started out as a user experience designer for fashion companies, after studying industrial and spatial design. He later taught himself menswear design, incorporating his experience and degree into his garments. Specializing in avant-garde sportswear and futuristic outerwear.
“Rejecting the conventions of fashion”, the title of their Fall Winter 2018 collection that brought them into the limelight. A rebellious presence, their induction into the fashion scene, their F/W 2018 collection signaled the death of the old fashion norms and a new beginning.
“Centered around disassembly and assembly, the title of their Fall Winter 2019 collection continued with their previous theme of fashion deconstruction and rebellion. They seamlessly combined mismatched proportions, asymmetrical pieces and utility into this collection, breaking down preconceived notions of what fashion is and could be.
“Filled with intentionally damaged designs”, the title of their Spring Summer 2020 collection represented the broken and fragmented human. A representation of the fragility of man, physically, emotionally and perhaps even mentally. The blueprint of the pieces follows the brands creed of fabricating new structural formula through evolving archives.
“Exploring physical movements through function, asymmetric form and collapsing shapes”, their Spring Summer 2021 collection can be seen as the epitome of avant-garde sportswear. With a stronger approach to the unknown, they are able to incorporate practical clothing into moving art pieces which caters to a greater target audience. The set design can be understood as a treadmill, with a cloak draped over it to portray movement in clothing. Though that is my individual interpretation of it.
In 2021, PAF has become a semi-finalist for LVMH’s prize for young designers which notes the first instance their work has been recognized on a global scale for its beauty. I believe this is the first in a plethora of awards and recognitions for the brand. Post Archive Faction continues till this day to push the norms, perspectives and definition of fashion with its outlandish designs, creative pieces and otherworldly set designs. In the short span of 4 years, PAF has come a long way, and as a big fan of the brand myself, it is only natural I dedicate this article to them.
Thrifting in its simplest and only form is buying clothing from a thrift store. A thrift store is store selling second-hand clothes and other household goods, typically to raise funds for a charitable institution.
People often mistake the reason behind thrifting and how it is essential to community. Thrifting is always viewed through a close-minded lens; people believe they are above buying clothes that may or may not have been used previously. However, those same individuals shop from fast-fashion stores that employ child labour and dismal facilities to produce poor quality clothing. ‘To thrift’ is literally defined as “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”.
7 Reasons to Thrift:
The main reason fast fashion has such a chokehold on society is due to its ability to offer clothing at such low prices. When you look at the class system, 26.2% of the worlds population is in the lower class and almost half of the world (48% to be specific) is in the middle class. Not many people can afford to spend money on good quality clothes, so they do not bother searching in the first place. Although, thrift stores are known to be affordable as well as providing clothes that last you years in contrast to fast fashion clothes that last you months at a time at most. In the long term you save more money shopping from thrift stores.
Millions of people worldwide donate their clothes to thrift stores every year, from all walks of life. As a result, you end up with the largest variety of clothing from luxury to streetwear. When you thrift, you are open to any and every clothing items. This allows you employ different aesthetics and styles allowing for a steady and balanced wardrobe. From staple pieces to basics, all and many more can be found at your local thrift. As someone who tends to employ different looks and styles, thrifting has allowed me to broaden my horizons in those sectors.
3. Environmentally Sound:
Due to the sparing nature of thrifting, what you realize is its positive impact on the environment. As you buy second-hand clothes, you reduce the amount of clothes needed to be produced by stores which directly affects the amount of pollution resulting from the production of clothes. Disposing of clothes takes a toll on the environment, but with thrifting you can pass down those clothes to other people who would want it. Thus, reducing waste in the process. By choosing to thrift, you are directly saving the planet.
Currently, in this generation especially, one standard we hold ourselves to is uniqueness, the ability to be different from the crowd. Thrifting is the easiest way to achieve that goal clothing wise. By thrifting you are going to find one-of-a-kind clothes and unknown clothing straight from other people’s wardrobes which you can then incorporate into your own. It is a jackpot of the unknown and unexpected. If you want to find your personal style, the thrift store should be your go to.
5. Supporting Your Community:
Thrift stores exist to provide, retail stores exist to profit. In thrift store, majority of the time you can sleep well knowing that your purchase is contributing to the wellness of others or the society. Most thrift stores donate a percentage of their earnings to different charity organizations which look after the community and its people. Choosing to thrift is choosing to make a difference.
Thrift stores sell a variety of things, and clothes are not their only expertise. They sell fabric, paint, equipment etc. All the things you would need in order to carry out your very own clothing design or creation. This makes for a remarkably interesting time after the thrift.
7. Finding Steals:
I personally love finding high end clothing at thrift stores, especially being into high fashion it is an affordable way to dabble in that realm. In thrift stores you see various brands, it could be luxury, streetwear or your every day fast fashion. However, what is important is the prices are always marked down compared to what you would find in your average high fashion store like Prada. Now, I am not saying you will always find steals or such brands, but the likelihood is high. You risk nothing by going and finding out.
Style in its most base definition is “a manner of doing something”. Now, in the fashion world your ‘style’ is a reference to how you personally dress, it is an art form with which a person displays their passions and aesthetics using clothing as its outlet.
How To Build Your Style?
1.Study Your Wardrobe:
Your wardrobe is the simplest way to understand your own style, look carefully at the kind of clothes you spend your money on and you will notice a trend begins to form. There are many aesthetics people gravitate towards for multiple reasons. What is yours? A way tell which clothes you love is when you see yourself wearing a certain item regularly. I personally have noticed I love dark clothing and dark fashion and I make it a point to not stray from that as it is what I love, never compromise for validation. Turn whichever aesthetics and clothing you love into something other people will love.
Likewise, in fashion there are basic clothing items every wardrobe should have. These basics build the framework for your style. Some basics I recommend are as follows;
White Button Up Shirt
Basic Jeans (Levi’s)
Black and White T-Shirt
2. Practicality Is The Way
When it comes to building a wardrobe, especially on a budget you have to remain practical. Staple pieces aside, you should not spend money on an item you don’t see yourself wearing, or is not in-line with your environment. An example would be buying ten pairs of shorts knowing you live in a cold climate with almost no chance of heat. Being practical saves you a lot of stress, mentally and financially.
3. Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Gather inspiration from your surroundings, Pinterest for example is a wonderful place to look through mood boards and pick out outfits you would wear. Recreating outfits is looked down on a lot, however, no individual is innocent in that regards, from famous mathematicians to artists. Originality is built from incorporation. Recreating outfits should not be your only discovering your style, neither should it be your primary, it is simply an accessory to use. Likewise, you should also keep in mind what people wear around you and decide whether it is something you would wear yourself, if so then take note of it and build off of that.
4. Desist From Trends
Keep in mind, your goal is to build your style and not validation. Fashion Trends die every day, all it amounts to is endless financial debt, momentary validation and loss of identity. Your ability to dress should never be based on what society deems acceptable, unless you have already lost without beginning. Fashion is art, art is expression of self and that is a mindset that has gotten me through the times of trends. However, discovering a trend you like and incorporating it into your style is fine if you do it for yourself. You just need to keep in mind your goal.
5. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
Every great thing in this world of man was born from curiosity. Experimentation leads to evolution. Granted you may stumble, you are only human so it is expected. Although, continuity is your only true reality. Try out new outfits, never heard of clothing combinations, merge outfits, ideas and aesthetics to your hearts content. This is the step into building your style that never ends. Till this day I am still building my own style with this in mind, it never ends but it gets infinitely easier.
This a greeting from myself, Osagie Ebuehi, aka Zero, to you. I created this blog with the intention to post my poetry and creative writing primarily, as well as my thoughts on various subjects with which I possess a passion or interest in. Thus, this is blog serves as my outlet, keeping you in the know of my perspective and extracurricular ideals.
Why do this?
In order to challenge myself, seeing as I am someone who normally strays away from creativity
Likewise, because I believe it will be amusing.
I want to remain brief in this introduction, however below you will find the items that will be discussed in this blog.
To help you get started, here are a of my primary topics:
Fashion News & History
Miscellaneous (this could fall under any of my other interests).
Congratulations on making it this far, welcome to my world. Dive in and remain here for the foreseeable future. You won’t regret it.