Telfar Shares Its World

The Spring/Summer 2020 ready-to-wear shows just started today in Paris, and what we saw so far was promising: featuring independent brands, rather than the big industry voices, the first day – or rather evening – welcomed the Grand Prize winner of the 2019 LVMH Prize Rokh, in addition to the collection of the Japanese designer Mame Kurogouchi and the Korean designer Kiminte Kimhekim. 

While Kimhekim featured a collection that highlighted attention-seeking cocktail numbers – possibly a style that he got from working for Balenciaga in the past – Mame Kurogouchi focused on clothes as protection of the body, delving into the history and traditions of Japanese wrapping with softly cut overcoats and loose-fitted outfits that were lightly embracing the models' bodies, almost like cocoons. Rok Hwang's discreet-chic luxury, for its part, came with a fetish twist this season, while reinterpreting a woman's staple pieces, such as trenchcoats, polo shirts, and twinsets with a youthful yet sophisticated twist. 

And while we are looking forward to the rest of the week, we can say that one brand today already made a lasting impression. The highlight of this – rather short – first day of Paris Fashion Week was undoubtedly Telfar. Founded in 2004 by the New-York-based Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens, the brand is designed to be "unisex, universal, and democratic," as its founder explains. Telfar's real driving force is indeed its intelligent and socially committed artistic direction, which is further enhanced by the brand's willingness to produce high quality at affordable prices – and today, Clemens has managed to impress with a runway show that opened the Spring/Summer 2020 season of ready-to-wear fashion shows in Paris. 

Having said that, the term "runway show" is an understatement: in the concert hall La Cigale, near Pigalle, Telfar revised archetypes of American urban wear against a backdrop that featured the extended trailer of a film. Named "The World isn't Everything," the film directed by Clayton Vomero is an on-going fruitful collaboration between Telfar and the brand's close friends and supporters, namely a few notable personalities, such as actor Ashton Sanders, and multi-disciplinary artists Juliana Huxtable and Petra Collins, as well as playwright Jeremy O. Harris, rapper and producer Butch Dawson, and musician Steve Lacy. 

Against this impressive visual backdrop, Telfar's signature style twisted logos blended into daily wardrobe pieces that conveyed urban, military, and graphic vibes, as well as both a youthful and thoughtful irreverence with a hint of audacity. More importantly, the message conveyed by the film trailer made a strong statement way beyond fashion: “We are migrants. That’s our philosophy in general, the line between representation and presence,” the designer explained to press after his show – a statement that, unequivocally, acknowledges all the immigrants who suffer in the United States and Europe from the anti-immigration policies which, alas, have been espoused by many governments. 

Far from making social justice a commercial gimmick – or even worse, a fashion trend – Telfar Clemens has proven his integrity. In the past, Clemens has been making financial donations (benefits from his collection sales) to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Liberty and Justice Fund, which fights to ensure that juvenile detainees of the Rikers Island Prison have a decent lawyer, a fair trial and a chance to bail out. The infamous Rikers Island Prison detains juvenile inmates, many of whom are black minors who suffer from an endemic culture of violence perpetuated against people of color in the United States.

A police brutality that Telfar Clemens is committed to fight against. Even in his latest film trailer, which served as the runway show's backdrop today, the tense interaction between the black protagonists he featured and the security guards says a lot about the palpable racism that continues to wreak havoc in the United States.  “We don't really identify with any one place; we're not even at home in America,” concludes the designer after his show, when asked about his choice to show in Paris. And yet, for one moment, Telfar's show finale, which had models – all genders and ethnicities – dancing and partying all together to a live performance by U.K. rapper Lancey Foux, felt like home. Or at least, how home should feel like. 

Photo by Gio Staiano

 

 

 

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Cuoio di Toscana Launches Campaign Against Domestic Violence
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion...
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting...
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting this social injury show no sign of diminishing and, if we consider the case of domestic violence in...
Burberry Reports Significant Revenue Loss
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year...
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the...
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the year, the outbreak of COVID-19 in late January negatively affected the financial year. Store closures,...
Meryll Rogge’s Last Days of Disco
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for...
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these...
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these creatives is 35-year-old Meryll Rogge. A former student of Walter Van Beirendock at Antwerp’s Academy...
Hindsight: Yale Photography On Sexuality and Mundanity
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or...
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which...
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which launched last week, writer and visual artist Carmen Winant poses a series of “Questions for...
Neorealist Beauty Meets Italian Craftsmanship with 'Il Traffico'
By Amanda Ballerini
In our newly-minted column on independent brands, our favourite 'Instagram Scouter' Amanda...
By Amanda Ballerini
In our newly-minted column on independent brands, our favourite 'Instagram Scouter' Amanda Ballerini talks shoes, cinema and what they represent and eventually become, with independent brand Il Traffico's designer Marco Antonio Marra.I first discovered Marco Antonio Marra's work some months ago...
In our newly-minted column on independent brands, our favourite 'Instagram Scouter' Amanda Ballerini talks shoes, cinema and what they represent and eventually become, with independent brand Il Traffico's designer Marco Antonio Marra.I first discovered Marco Antonio Marra's work some months ago via Instagram. At the time, his page called' Il Traffico' was a project in development, physical...
Levi’s Celebrates 501 Day
By Alice Ierace
Levi’s, the brand behind the iconic blue denim, has been quite active on Instagram. Over the last...
By Alice Ierace
By Alice Ierace
Levi’s, the brand behind the iconic blue denim, has been quite active on Instagram. Over the last few weeks, music and denim fans alike have been tuning in and rocking out to the brand’s 5:01 Live series on Instagram for live-streamed concerts, panel talks and customization sessions. Today, they...
Levi’s, the brand behind the iconic blue denim, has been quite active on Instagram. Over the last few weeks, music and denim fans alike have been tuning in and rocking out to the brand’s 5:01 Live series on Instagram for live-streamed concerts, panel talks and customization sessions. Today, they celebrate the birthday of their iconic 501 blue jean with live performances from around Europe and...
Pyer Moss Discloses Plans for a Drive-In Event for NYFW
By Elisa Carassai
While the future of the fashion show is still uncertain, it seems that, as of late, designers are...
By Elisa Carassai
While the future of the fashion show is still uncertain, it seems that, as of late, designers are trying to find ways of engaging with their audience in the most creative ways.One of these is American designer Kerby Jean Raymond of Pyer Moss, who just announced he would be presenting his film...
While the future of the fashion show is still uncertain, it seems that, as of late, designers are trying to find ways of engaging with their audience in the most creative ways.One of these is American designer Kerby Jean Raymond of Pyer Moss, who just announced he would be presenting his film ‘American Also,’ a feature film documenting the two years leading up to the boundary-pushing Pyer Moss...
NYNNE’s Nordic Heritage
By Alice Ierace
“I have always been a creative soul since I was little, in...
By Alice Ierace
By Alice Ierace
“I have always been a creative soul since I was little, in many different aspects, drawing, sewing and dancing. I have always been interested in design being a way of free expression. Fashion is a language; it reveals a lot about you as a person and how...
“I have always been a creative soul since I was little, in many different aspects, drawing, sewing and dancing. I have always been interested in design being a way of free expression. Fashion is a language; it reveals a lot about you as a person and how you want to express yourself,” tells us Nynne Kunde, founder of her eponymous brand...