There is something undeniably deliberately sophomoric in the Sankuanz AW 16/17 collection which defies understanding but not reason. Let us explain.
Designer Shangguan Zhe comes from China and remembers vividly his first experiences with sport in China when in 1990 the Asian Games were held in Beijing. Sport was a venture in which young adults could express themselves under the circumstances of the time with new freedoms which today are all but taken for granted. But there was not much wealth in China 25 years ago and hence not many fashionable materials were available at the time. So people would wear sports clothes wide and big and open and in colors and with logos and with slogans so as to be able to allow themselves a certain freedom of expression.
If you look at the collection you will see these slogans as even the brand name itself – Sankuanz – is printed across the fabrics as if it were the home outfit of an Ohio State University Varsity team. Sports sets free and gives freedom of expression. And so do colors. And prints with slogans. And pop culture in general. There was a time in America too where rock ‘n roll on the radio was forbidden. Or practically, as it was considered subversive. And so it goes with pop culture in general which often becomes a rebellious statement against the values of the generations of before. Thus a style is created which is the opposite of the traditional and the classic, and such a style makes for fantastic signatures in fashion.
So Sankuanz shows us those hallucinating colored graphic prints with Asian pop culture characters on them. At Sankuanz you wear everything oversized and loose fitting. Sankuanz uses pop art, its slogans and symbols, its colors, and even popular forms of design (basic sports sweaters) in order to create a statement of youth that does not want to look back but only forward. Frankly this is the Justin Bieber generation arriving from China – from the East.
So isn’t this the Asian century? Yes, the 21st century will be the Asian century. And the young people of China know it. It is now their time to rebel and set themselves free from the classic orthodoxy of the values of their ancestors. This is the information age and Sankuanz knows it. It shows through an eclecticism and a variety of colors in designs and patterns, but also in materials. Which today are available in wealthy China for young designers like Shangguan Zhe to be used and employed in their latest collections on the runways of Paris. There is wealth today. And there is PVC, Corduroy, and Nylons set against hoodies and track pants. Slogans. Colors. Asian Pop Art. And we witness a new freedom found in a diversity of forms, shapes, and colors – the induction of a kaleidoscopic mix indicating that to live peacefully in a diversity of values and cultures is possible for the young of today. Call it Sophomoric at your own peril.
Young man go East.
Posted by Sandro and photos from Sankuanz press.