Two Collections by Ron Poisson
Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor
Photographs by Eva Mueller
"You Can't do Epic Shit with Basic People"
The fame within the frame of fashion is connected to icons and iconography which become part of the way we live and are instantly recognizable. Fame is always changing but it's essence reveals visual and cultural connections, pathways of power, its a statement about individuality and style. CULT of Individuality and Hvman (Human) are two fashion experiences with one soul founded by Ron Poisson (Pwan-ssawn- French phonetic). It's 'Denim Art' with an epic and famous profile of music cultures intersecting with recognizable underground iconography.
The client roster of CULT is impressive Skip Marley, Dave East, Gavin Rossdale, Tommy Lee, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Slash, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and many others. CULT'S brand collaborations are equally notable with MÖTLEY CRÜE, Naughty By Nature, Public Enemy and Bob Marley. Spring 2022 featured pieces highlighting CULT's current collaboration with 'glam-groove metal rock band' Pantera. Poisson states, “our team looks to music, we find inspiration in all sorts of music in all genres & from that we start designing. Our foundation is always denim. From there, we add in silhouettes, colors, washes, graphics and a bunch of details from traditional Japanese & American work wear and we always end up a collection we are obsessed with!”
'ASCENSION' the Spring 2022 runway collection for CULT of Individual and Hvman. A highly anticipated event inspired by the return of New York , live fashion and New York's live events. The evening runway show for Spring 2022 recalled the VIP room in a nightclub. The pulsing and buzzing event with open bar and fashion felt a bit like being an urban legend as the city still emerges from a pandemic.
The packed event was filled with the young, the eager and the ready to party. A tremendously diverse fashion mix of people and styles were in attendance...chaps and Louboutins, dreads paired with Fred Leighton, 'Gossip Girl lite' with expensive highlights, he, she, they in Dad jeans, a strong showing of Brooklyn Birkins, white men in suits, a tattooed drag queen, some tan pretty girls from the mall, beautiful biker lesbians, preppy surfer guys, women in yards of tie dye, Minaj look a likes, fluid skater guys, black club kids, Dior saddle bags paired with copious amounts of Chrome Hearts and the list went on with a host of performing personalities. The musical volume was loud, deep and penetrating from underground Hip- Hop to re-mixed Marvin Gaye message anthems.
Poisson, spoke with IRK about defining the pulse of the fashion moment "what, I think the pulse of fashion is different for every single person. I think that's what makes fashion unique for me with my brand. I want to curate a bit of fashion for people about themselves, or people saying something about individuality, their saying, 'I don't want to live in that proverbial box of what society says I should look.' We don't follow the traditional trend forecasting and things that a lot of other brands do, what we do is by our heart and by our feeling of what we like. Most of my inspiration comes from my interest in do it yourself which is what resonates through our brand. I started in the surf industry and what I learned is there has to be a culture attached to something or otherwise you become a commodity, otherwise your price point, for us mostly it's the music industry."
The denim in Cult of Individuality for Spring 2022 was elevated in terms of graphic design and textures. The brands logos were highlighted in embroidered and printed graffiti, dazzling crystal embellishment, Abloh-esque printed ballistic tape and rock requisite metal studs, the craft was extraordinary. Womenswear was also new for the label and there standout looks ready for the forthcoming date night concert season.
Following thirteen years as an epic denim collections, Poisson told IRK "the brand has evolved a lot, we were 95% denim we're probably 40% denim; now the denim components obviously have changed- in the last three years looks have become mostly stretch we started with rigid and sell Japanese selvedge which now comes in stretch denim." Poisson was proud to point out that "the brand has evolved as a full lifestyle we treat denim as an artist templates are things we do, it's multimedia to embroideries, there's applications, different things, but the brand is not just denim anymore .... I mean I'm doing collaborations with beer I'm doing collaborations with cannabis company candles. I want to buy everything, I want to penetrate every component of a person's life throughout the day I want to touch them."
The strength of the Cult of Individuality's twenty-nine look collection out shinned the eighteen look debut collection of Hvman, Poisson's new modern streetwear venture. Hvman on the whole had the feel of a blank canvas not yet fully realized. In contrast, CULT's muscle is due to each looks unique personality. CULT is assured and reflects the designer's philosophy and approach to denim “We never want our collection to seem forced, or mass produced. We work vigilantly to make sure every CULT of Individuality garment looks like it was broken in over time & got its character by being worn countless times.”
Hvman's spare look, placement and message got a bit lost in the teaming venue. I am sure part of this is due to the over an hour two-fisted mixed drinks, whisky and champagne open bar. However, the concept was not tossed away, on a sober and masked IRK. The over all connection to the side by side collections rests in the title 'ASCENSION', to rise from, a new beginning. Hvman was the new reflecting once again the charmingly, salty point of view of the designer "We don’t give a $&*# about what is going on in the traditional fashion marketplace. We start each season with a clean slate, a new beginning,”
The jean silhouettes spoke volumes about not following trends, the vocabulary in both collections reminds the fashion eye of Hedi Silmane' s West Coast musician photography of the early 2000's. The male silhouette is skinny, tight, low slung and well fitted an opposite direction to the current fuller shapes and pooled ankle cuts in the market.
The designer's ambition in terms of breaking through all limitations is also part of the both brand's authentic and optimistic outlooks. The future outlook is akin to the theme of 'ASCENSION'. Looking forward, Poisson is assertive, "there's definitely a lot more collaboration as the brand begins to really evolve, we will be opening up our own retail stores, as well as increasing our international presence in Asia and other countries across the across the world. I'm partnering with a person in retail and looking at stores in London, Paris, New York, LA, and Miami to start out.
On the whole these were well styled, presented collections with diverse casting ready for a presentation. In a larger venue such as Pier 59 or Canoe Studios a rising hub of men's fashion with far looser grip on retail and a stronger eye toward pure editorial leaning in on a music fashion event. I am sure the well connected, salty frankness, business minded, talented messages of fashion, humanity and pop culture perspective of Ron Poisson will shine even brighter.