ORIGIN: New York City
HEAD DESIGNER: Telfar Clemens
In a myriad of days that seem to transpire at a remarkable speed peoples faces and names become a very easy thing to forget. Especially with the large scale mentality to fit into one of 3 particular fashion style categories which are designed by corporations to easily market products. This has made people very similar looking. Think of all the people with a beard, tight on the sides haircut and horn rimmed glasses. Especially when most names tend to be John, Ted, Jake and so forth. If his name is Bill, it will be an impossibility to differentiate him from any other person in NYC. People work very hard and pay very much to fit inside the box of society, especially during the social media generation. The only means of differentiating is by brand symbols of class status. People are on a constant hunt to attain approval from their peers. To be considered normal. Even within a city the size and scope of New York City.
This is quite the contrary of my first and my ongoing encounters with Telfar. I remember meeting Shane Oliver, Promise Smith and Telfar as a group of friends that were consistently traveling together in the village. They all had their distinct stylistic personalities, and were all openly gay; visually, verbally and mentally. Being openly gay was a somewhat common phenomenon at the time, but nothing like how open it has become today. Especially within the NYC black communities, where there was even more violence aimed toward gay people then, than there is now. They were an extremely well dressed black group, that put an eighties retro feeling into the late nineties of NYC. At the time there was no one else doing this. The group set the idea for colored flattops, snapbacks, eighties and nineties sneakers, gold chains, etcetera to return. It may seem the common ground now, but at the time, the normality defined by corporations such as the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy was firmly set in place among the general public. Despite the normal era and environment, the group would attract much attention, and of the 3, Telfar was the most flamboyant by far. Memories of Telfar wearing outfits such as platform high heel Reeboks, extremely revealing shorts and a transparent loose top, usually pop into my head when I hear his name. Shane would dress like a member of Zulu Nation in its early 80s renditions. As if I need to say more than that, this group of individuals were very stylistic and expressive for an extremely unexpressive time.
Micro leather 2014 Telfar bagIronically, Telfar's as of recent (2014) clothing line plays with the exact opposite reality. The scene has polarized and the negative views have become positive. After the social media explosion of the mid 2000's, normal people have taken to believing they are different and more interesting than the rest of the worlds inhabitants. A somewhat 'egotistical' and 'self assuring' feeling that the masses seem to choose, as opposed to the seemingly depressing fact that they are in fact all the same. This logic has actually become normal foundation for peoples lives. To think this way. So therefore the script unfolds with a bulleted point: Open minded individuals have always been notorious for using contrast as a means to express themselves. And therefore, Telfar sets the bars straight once again. With the use of his 'Extremely Normal™' slogan, his 2014 line shines with 'Simplexity™'.
The entire label, regardless of season, has maintained a clean modern minimalistic look. Using straps buckles and various forms of modernism to bind together the variations of seasonal themes. In the AW 2014 season, there was a seventies and nineties alternating theme depending on the piece. The colors for the 2014 Autumn/Winter season have been angled to a normal scheme: White, Beige, Black and Grey, as opposed to the previous Autumn/Winter's pastel futurism scheme. I personally love how the color themes and sizing vary greatly, but the details of modernism hold the lines in a tight hand shake. Regardless of which season they are from they can easily be combined. Many left field and interesting clothing lines forget this idea, and just try to oppose their previous lines with too much focus on contrast. This makes previous purchases from the line, unable to mix well with current pieces. This is a common phenomonen with brands that focus too much on trends, and not on the designers personal passion. Telfar has become synonmous with passion for fashion… of course in an 'Extremely Normal™' way, that is.
Most designers use the very bad concept of drawing within the lines of their field. I cannot count the number of time I have heard fashion world people complain of music world people and vice versa. I feel this is idiosyncratic, as they both feed and directly help each other in so many ways. An interesting point is that people from both do not even notice the art world as an influencing sphere. Telfar is not the type to look over this anomaly, as his project is a mix between art and fashion. Its a project that does not follow the rules of fashion or art, by melding the two into one unified ideal. If my description does not conjure up the idea in your mind, Im very certain the video posted below, will.
Telfar has been gaining an increase in his notoriety globally. On my last trip to Tokyo, circa October 2014, many stores and boutiques carried his line. Pretty much all the hi street select shops had a few pieces or at the very least, knowledge of the label. In NYC its somewhat of a staple label that is a perquisite to know if you wish to traverse the street fashion world there. Due to Shane Olivers recent boom in popularity with his "Hood by Air" label, Telfar has an increased amount of publicity as well. As long time affiliates, the two seem to be doing well and growing at a mutual pace. It has been an inspirational voyage to watch their season's appear and Im curious as to where Telfar will take his line to next. Im sure it will be something that will appeal to both the art world and the fashion world proportionately. As for the 2014 line, it will definitely help to inspire the eccentric city artists to attain, or better put, detain to the level of 'Extremely Normal™'.
The sparkles of a salespersons teeth in an advertisement circa 1970s along with a stark white market mentality apple minimalism, is the background and foundation of Telfars 2014 Autumn Winter line. The line hits on 70's bellbottoms, 90's loose cut pants and boxy beige ghetto influenced jackets and pants. There are even Ugg inspired boots to give a feeling of average shopping mall consumerism, from the angle a downtown (or midtown as the line specifies in jest) NYC fashion mentality. Of course there are always the strange straps and modern fashionesque futurism designs that keep the line seperated from what you would find in East Brooklyn or an Old Navy store. Although the theme is based on normal, the line is exteremly well stream lined for fashion mentalities that are willing to push forward and challenge themselves and their personal style.
Telfars 2014 Spring Summer line nails on a nineties inspired normal aesthetic. Its derives its capri pants, mesh tops and bottoms and friendship bracelets on a very typical suburban mall in the late nineties. Think Bannana Republic or Old Navy, but intermix a few modern tendecies of those store. For example, the flat closed toe sandals that seemed to dominate every urban corporate office in the mid 2000s. Telfar has taken these totally basic ideas and mixed them together wit his own personal summer style of having as much skin showing, as possible. This adds a femine aethetic to many pieces of this mens line, especially the swimming shorts and bikinis. Of course modern futurism holds the concept of the line together, as Telar has become reknown for. The entire line is done in black white and beige, to symbolize his 'Extremely Normal™' brand marketing technique.
Futurism in pastels. This line is like a dream where your spaceship lands on planet with aliens wearing Telfars simplexity™. This season is very well selected in the color scheme as well as the cuts and hanging of the garments. The quilted vests are very Japanese in apperance, so I can view every piece of this line as something I would wear. Although I tended to wear more primary toned colors, It reminds me much of a modern version of myslef in the late 90s. The interesting placement of pockets that hang at eye catching angles, along with the draw strings and fututristic layering make the entire line a very nice package.