Many brands attempt to hover over genre borders: we have sweatsuit brands masquerading as outdoor wear and leggings companies attempting to break out of gym wear. Some have made their mark, while others should be left in the gym bag and pulled out for training only. Few have made it past their station, and regardless of how casual our streets have become, it’s still harder than one thinks to be properly rock a spandex biker short with anything else than running shoes.
Mixing and matching patterns and styles has become one of my all-time favourite things to do. While playing dress up for Fashion Week, I always think of how I can break my box and put together something slightly less conventional. I also try to pay homage to whichever fashion show I will be attending by wearing their garments. On the rarest occasion, I’ll spontaneously be invited to attend a show that I did not pack for, and that’s when I won’t be able to pull the designer’s look from my wardrobe, and instead, will have to piece together an outfit that complements the brand.
After working for multiple fashion houses, a creative mind needs to find his (or her) own outlet, a personal project let’s say, where he can express his own understanding of the fashion world. That’s the first thought that immediately came to mind when I thought of what Chinese designer, Han Lei from DamoWang, and local Montreal designer and creative director of Praise Official, Patrick Elkaim have in common. So, the decision was made simple for me as I strutted my biker shorts and kitten-heeled booties right into the DamoWang fashion show.
The DamoWang show really broke the mould. The collection reinvented the silhouette by cutting and piecing together blazers and skirts in completely new ways. Lots of oversized shirts, oddly shaped blazers, and transparent checkered pants, all put together in a way that was reminiscent of a school girl look, if that makes any sense!
I wanted to represent my inner rebel by sporting an athleisure look in a more upscale vibe. That pretty much sums up what attracts me to Praise Official in the first place. It’s a unisex brand that has multi-functional applications; super versatile and extremely comfortable, I knew that if I paired an oversized tee with black biker shorts and Black suede Studio sock booties, I would take track and field style to the runway. Not to mention the elevated Sistness jewelry that accented the whole look.
Once the show was done, I was feeling inspired. That’s one of the things I love most about my job I think, being able to express myself through fashion and then come up with creative ways to capture the moment. The Nili Lotan pant has come in handy on more than one occasion, and it felt like the perfect match for a laidback Praise vibe. I played off the grunge vibe a little by throwing on my Mackage leather jacket. One thing I tend to do is pick up on textured elements, and then weave them back in with accessories, so the geometric Balenciaga bag brought back the leather in a seamless way.
Sometimes the most unseemly pair make the perfect match, kind of like an opposites attract sort of thing. In the case of the hidden magic between DamoWang and Praise Official, I would say you’d have to be in the know about the designers to find the parallels, but once uncovered, it all makes sense. It was only in 2015 that Lei and Wang launched DamoWang, a way to show off that neo-classicist style, and 2016 that Elkaim gifted us with Praise Official, because of his affection for marathon running. Although the two brands are worlds apart, the designers behind the brands are part of the architecture that built this industry. Having built up several fashion houses, I was excited to represent the creative talent of a design visionary at the show of another young innovator.
Photography by Patricia Brochu