Study in Aesthetics: the Intersection of Thom Browne and Junya Watanabe Fall 2014

Thom Browne and Junya Watanabe are best known for their unique perspectives on menswear. Browne, perverts classic men’s suiting by wildly altering classic tailoring and proportions. Browne’s work always seems consistent in that it centers around American and English cultural and historical clothing symbols. Whether it be infusing rural American signifiers in suiting or emphasizing the proportions of an English rugby uniform, Browne’s work can be placed within a cultural clothing sphere.

Similarly, Junya Watanabe designs collections around a motif that borrows ideas from culture. Watanabe constructs through deconstruction. He breaks down garments into units of material, and reconstructs them around a singular motif – whether it be the 60’s hippie movement, mountaineering, or militarism. So when Watanabe’s Fall 2014 men’s collection takes obvious cues from London culture, and how the outside world perceives London, one immediately wonders how it compares to Browne’s own vision of English clothing and culture. Like Browne, Watanabe played with suiting proportions. More importantly though, Watanabe seemed to clash signs of English workwear – patchwork denim – with signs of traditional English aristocratic leisure, using materials associated with hunting and fishing jackets. Watanabe also seemed to make a deliberate demarcation between the two – aristocracy at the top half and workwear patchwork pants making up the bottom half.
Rather than make a socio-cultural statement, Browne’s 2014 collection implemented raw hems and huge animal masks with his signature grayscale pallet that seemed to comment more on an inherent animalism within. Browne also played with dimensionality – creating garments that seemed to flatten models to the point of becoming a single plane.
In intersecting by exploring English clothing and tailoring, Watanabe and Browne bring novel perspectives to classic clothing signifiers that make us think about the role of art and culture in clothing design.
 Thom Browne
Junya Watanabe

Images from
The Blog Team

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