You begin with the possibilities of the material.
– Robert Rauschenberg
Collages and assemblages. In Rauschenberg’s vocabulary, ‘combines’. The idea of mixing materials, which Rauschenberg gained through his experience in his first year at the legendary Black Mountain College, under the guidance of Josef Albers. This idea is often at the root of design: finding the correct balance and vibration between two different materials, colors, or techniques, and was the initial starting point for the Fall/Winter 2021 collection. Mixed materials take the form of organza panels applied to sharp Japanese wool or cotton poplin overshirts, chunky knit collars attached to wool coats, and heavy metal hardware cutting through tailoring, shirting, footwear, and accessories.
However, beyond the simple opposition of materials, the study evolved into mixing ideas and feelings, a reflection of the place and time we find ourselves in now. Elevated materials utilized in more relaxed shapes, such as track suits and cozy inflated pieces, leather jackets and trousers with elastics and coulisse adjustments, roomy jacquard wool overshirts, and double-faced Shetland and viscose/nylon flared collar knits. Garments that can both be worn during long stints at home, or in transit (when possible). The underlying feeling being one that reflects an attitude that even if we are required to remain in place, we still appreciate and desire well made, beautiful things.
Layering is also important. Both in terms of building the silhouette, but also to provide a visual depth by way of sheets of printed organza and printed graphic poplin. The illustrative work reflects a change in time and place through the exploration of how the recent past feels like ancient history. Cassettes, reel to reel machines, VHS tapes, TV static; all forms and aspects of technology which are not from too distant a past, but today feel distinctly ancient. The concept of time and recent history is one that casts a long shadow over how we all interact. The changes in the way we consume media, the revolutions that have taken place in the past 20 years, while present in the mind have now truly created ‘recent ancient’ history.
Further graphic motifs center on nature, from perhaps a dystopian, if not a slightly environmentalist viewpoint. Birds migrating, wilting plantlife, and polar bears. Symbols of our beautiful Mother Earth that still needs care and attention.
Accessories reflect both the collage approach as well as transparency. Gloves are mixed material and industrial, bags and cross-body small leather goods are supple and inflated, with hard metal detailing, and necklaces are strong link metal chains intricately woven with utility cords. Continuing the collaboration with Adidas, OAMC has designed the Type O-9, featuring the Bounce outsole and sculpted transparent TPU upper pieces that envelop the shoe, revealing the high-pile suede and leather panelling underneath. Utility boots are flooded in color, featuring custom tinted Vibram outsoles.
The palette reflects both a sophistication as well as a utilitarian vibrance. Melange Harris Tweed wools in warm brown and petrol are mixed with bright yellow, fuchsia, mint green, and pale blue. Black and white jacquard heavy diagonal wool coating is contrast by deep green, navy, and misty grey. Slick black leather is met by bright blue and ceramic white. Organza in bright green, yellow, blue, and red as well as natural white provides the bases for exquisite cyanotype-derived print motifs in black, purple, and aqua.
As with every season since the brand’s inception, development is based in Italy, and all fabrics and accessories are custom developed in Italy and Japan.
In the words of Mr. Rauschenberg: ‘There is no reason not to consider the world as one gigantic painting.’
This sentiment reflects our positive viewpoint: perhaps we can all have a share in creating the new image of what this world should look like.
Photographer: Ben Beagent
Courtesy of OAMC