We’ve been waiting for Aaron Potts newest collection after being slightly obsessed with his last –and this one does not disappoint! One thing that we love about Aaron is his unique ability to actually shape volume: seen in pieces like his two tiered ruffle top, the Celie Patch Frock and the vibrant red Lacquer and Lipstick Parachute Dress. These pieces will naturally delight in a breeze or on a dance floor but manage to hold that sense of lightness even when the wearer is standing still –to create such easy elegance reveals the depth of Aaron’s talent.
The collection title “I Luv You Cuz You’re Mine”, comes from one of his inspirations, the film Daughters of the Dust which is a story of a family set during the early part of the Great Migration. This sense of history comes through to me in pieces like an eyelet print dress and bow hat, the use of gingham prints and the natural apron that somehow manages to make me think of grasses in a field while being at the same time very sophisticated.
It is this inability to pinpoint and categorize Aaron’s clothing that is so much part of its appeal. He designs for all seasons and all bodies and his clothes almost ask you to move. (Fringe, which I think is made for spinning madly in circles also features prominently) Consider this collection his invitation to a dance – one you don’t want to miss.
Chelsea Grays presentation was an energetic experience which gave life to the garments being modeled. Her collection “Invited to the Cookout” was modeled by a group dancing to upbeat music. Far from straight faced and stiff, this presentation radiated joy, amplifying the meanings behind the designs.
“I was in a transition of coming back from Paris to the U.S. and my brand was in a transition as well- we really wanted to come to a place where we were more established,” Grays said. “For the collection we wanted to focus on re-discovering Blackness.”
Grays says all her collections use the same colors, just in different shades. The garments for her first Spring/Summer collection were cool toned and earthy, accented with fabrics Grays says she chooses for being smooth. One design which stood out was a flowy, tunic style linen suit.
“When I came back I was going to family cookouts and I really got inspired by cookouts,” Grays said. “Of course, you know, it was a whole social media craze of people saying, ‘Oh why aren’t we invited to the cookout?’ So I wanted to give people a peek into what it’s like to be a part of the culture and invited to the cookout.”
Upscale and beautiful as the designs are, their presentation and wearability are the reminder that these clothes are for people and meant to be lived in. Grays created a collection which speaks for itself, but becomes even more awe inspiring when delved into.
“It was really created out of a place of trying to rediscover what it is to be Black in America and also to create a bridge between different cultures,” Grays said.
Unlike other rooms which were sunlit with golden hour light, the presentation room for FRIED RICE felt like walking into a nightclub full of New York’s coolest. The dark room cast spotlights on leisuring models and a wall projected with the art they’ve created.
“When we decided to do the presentation, we really don’t want to do it like a typical runway show just because that’s not the best way to represent what FRIED RICE is about,” said designer Maya Wang.
The collection, like the brand in general, was genderless, modeled by a diverse group of artists with an equally diverse range of mediums. The color blocked, baggy streetwear style clothing was given life through photographers, dancers and musicians from the FRIED RICE community.
“FRIED RICE is about the creative community, you know, we support and also we celebrate the diversity of the whole universe,” Wang said. “Every single person is real, they are artists themselves and then, you know, they have different ages, different genders, everything is so different. So we put clothes on them and let them represent who they are and I think that’s the best way.”
Many of the garments played on the traditional cargo pant style, from adding fanny pack style pockets to a pair of neon green pants, to three extra pockets to the front of overalls. One set, modeled by Hass Irv, was hard to miss in it’s shade of sky blue, but you wouldn’t want to if you could.
Wang created a collection for and about the creative community in New York, with a sustainable method in mind. Much like those in New York’s garment center, the collection was made in small ateliers in China and cut to order, keeping their deadstock and carbon footprint low.
“It’s not about FRIED RICE,” Wang said, “it’s about them. It’s about the art. It’s about the creative community.”