The beginning of a new decade serves a signal to designers to creatively explore concepts of gender and sexuality through avant garde textures, forms and silhouettes.
Progress has constantly marked each decade in new understandings about gender and self-expression. The touch of vang translates in Vietnamese to the touch of gold and is meant to envelop the idea of Asian representation in this constant progress. With it being 2020, this serves as a tribute to Asian designers who paved the way and continue to push boundaries. When examining these designers, we see bold looks that represent an advancement in terms of gender fluidity and Asian representation in the industry.
Rei Kawakubo is the creator of Comme des Garcons headquartered in Aoyama district, Tokyo. Kawakubo’s brand goes beyond Japanese streetwear onto the international stage. What Kawakubo has done has allowed for the innovation of younger designers like Junya Watanabe, in the way she crosses into the avant-garde with no desire for conforming to the expected. In the Man for Men collection, Wantanabe experiments with unique fabrics, tailoring and complex draping and pushing past traditional male silhouettes into a region of the genderless form. Bold contrasting textures and nostalgic prints each piece tell a cohesive story that is occasionally interrupted by pops of bright hues.
“I make clothes for a woman who is not swayed by what her husband thinks,” said designer Rei Kawakubo, adding “Comme des Garcons is a gift to oneself, not something to appeal or to attract the opposite sex.”
This creativity and exploration of new silhouettes is a concept seen in many other Asian designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake where streetwear is met with avant-garde textures and silhouettes to push back against the system of normal ideas of sexuality.
Issey Miyake’s Fall/Winter 2015 Menswear collection in Paris shows sheer fabrics and flared scarves that add depth to menswear. Oppositely, Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall/Winter 2019 Women’s fashion show showcased non-traditional female silhouettes, draping thick black fabric to create boxy shoulders. This exploration of breaking conventional gender boundaries offers this new decade a more progressive and liberating way of looking at fashion.