Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor
Are you following doctor's orders? Increase your dosage everyday twice a day....was the soundscape hailing activism, a prescription for a generation which will be egregiously affected by the high cost of medicine...."Medicine holds a sacred place in our society. It is crucial for our survival. However, how much do we know about the pills and why are they so expensive? Time to inform."
PRIVATE POLICY'S socio-political and thought provoking impetus was front and center at their Fall/ Winter 2020 collection during NYFW. The collection aims to uncover the dark side of the American pharmaceutical industry. The collection statement asks us to consider 'is it fact or myth that their is more money spent on marketing drugs rather than researching and developing new ones.' The fact, fiction and real cost of medicine, health care, insurance linked to the pharmaceutical industries methods to maximize profits at the expense of patient's health is a serious issue in United States. It's a tangled web equal only to government and the lobbyist linked to the NRA. It's riddled with loop holes and special interest, a timely narrative, to keep at the fore front of numerous fashion minds many of who are freelance and independent contractors. Beyond the televised debate stages, political tweets and politics of retribution this will be one of the top issues on many American voter's minds for fall 2020.
It was from this tremendously American platform and discussion the New York based brand incorporated elements from medical industry uniforms, including lab coats , latex gloves, pen protectors and nurse' s scrubs. It was an an attempt to break the boundary of "mystic authority" which medical authorities hold.
The collection opened with a series grey pinstripe looks featuring blazers, wrap skirts, biker jackets and wool trousers, paired with the brands consistent vocabulary of sexy items such as a ring bra, rivets, harnessed details. These looks also had the most 'formality' in terms of silhouette they are intelligently crafted and accessible, such as long coats, a biker jacket and a stunning double breasted silk wool dinner suit. Navy looks highlighted an explosion of magenta and gradient PXL check the identity digital print for the brand. The cable knit dip-dye pieces ranged from sweaters, to skirts and shorts.... the magenta medical glove bouquet was also a clever touch. The collection also had its on brand, inclusive gender fluid looks featuring highly slit straight skits paired with cotton hoodies and a harness as well as an ankle grazing lab coat like shirtwaist dress highlights in the yellow portion of the collection.
Utilizing fashion as the medium to bring awareness about the American pharmaceutical industry was not wasted on Saturday afternoon's packed venue. The visual 'narrative economics' that fashion and dress possess has the power to create multiple layers of reality and reflection. For many the urgent thought of health is global, we learned shortly after the show via CNN that Coronavirus deaths has now surpassed that of the SARS. This will effect fashion via a ripple effect in goods and services a health ricochet across global industries.
PRIVATE POLICY'S creative director's Haoran Li and Siying Qu have always engaged the fashion audience whether at home in New York , London Fashion Week or in China with thought provoking storytelling a lens of thoughtful narrative through which to view their creative politically engaged concepts. It's good to see that they are still pushing the boundaries of streetwear and gender. Utility is also a constant for the brand, seen in oversize pockets, zipper details, over the head woven fabrication pieces and creative utility vest like items .
The brand's sophistication has grown from season to season, IRK could not help to take notice the imprint of their time in London and the clear boost of being 2019 CFDA Fashion Fund Finalist.
Photographs by Dan Lecca