There’s been a lot of talk about how fashion needs to change, but there was little evidence of it at New York Fashion Week, which proceeded much as usual—though not at N. Hoolywood. Daisuke Obana wasn’t able to be in the city, but he engineered great changes both in terms of presentation and process in ways that incorporate technology and address sustainability.
Obana, who is known for deep diving into niche areas of (American) history, abandoned that approach this season in favor of working with a modular concept, offering a limited number of silhouettes and fabric choice. These were presented on a specially designed app where customers could interact with the collection and play with customization. “By enjoying one’s favorite clothes like a game, I hope it will be a good opportunity for the player to be interested in design and creativity,” he said via email, adding that he has plans to add a VR component as well.
Asked how he was feeling about the state of the world, Obana said, “Reset the earth. Forgetting about the old normal and thinking of what I can do to create something new. It’s a challenging and rewarding time to prepare for the dawn of a new era.” We need more of this kind of thinking in fashion, and, as his spring 2022 experiment proved, an adjustment in how we view things. This might be uncomfortable at first, and Obana doesn’t shy away from that in his designs. He was looking to create an “out of place feel.” At the same time, the app creates an opportunity for interaction.
The key look, according to the designer, features flannel, sweats, and denim. The novelty is in the incongruous placement of fabrics. N. Hoolywood’s Compile line has always been about everyday wear; this season it reads as “anti-fashion fashion,” which in this editor’s book, is a complement. He had some interesting things to say on the subject. “Perhaps rather than fashion, the way clothes should be is completely divided into two; clothes to dress up as a hobby and clothes necessary in the cycle of everyday life. While the former remains a more radical and core genre, the latter is the way of clothes that…many people need today; [they are] part of a manifestation of intention [where] the emphasis is on inner values rather than being identified by appearance and dressing. …An important selection criterion [should be] that clothes are closely related to one’s lifestyle.”
“For me, I’m comfortable creating clothes without force,” Obana added, “the type of the clothes which naturally fit into your wardrobe without resistance. I think this type of clothing reflects the world today.”