[ENGINEERED GARMENTS SPRING SUMMER 2023]
With the Engineered Garments Spring Summer 2023 collection now available in-store, we decided to find out what this collection is all about.
The Engineered Garments' Spring Summer 2023 collection draws inspiration from Senegalese artist Issa Samb. His subversive artwork spanned various mediums - theater, sculpture, poetry, and installations, and touched on themes of community that critiqued the conventions found in Senegalese society. Samb removed all barriers between art and the artist, fusing his style of dress and work into a single identity. A fixture among the streets of Dakar, he could be found dressed in bold colors and intricate patterns, often gripping a pipe jauntily in his mouth, engaged in an impromptu performance.
Samb's dedication to his craft helped him to build an existence rooted in a parallel reality that accentuated pure creativity without any constraints. This outlook shaped the personal aesthetic of Samb, which serves as the cornerstone of the Engineered Garments Spring Summer 2023 collection.
Following Senegal's independence from France on June 20th, 1960, Léopold Sédar Senghor - a poet and theorist - was elected as the nation's first president. His government implemented the philosophy of Négritude through the school system and public art. This theory, of which Senghor was a significant architect, espoused the development of Black identity within the indigenous African community while maintaining ties to the existing Franco-African structure.
Critics of this ideology quickly emerged, including Issa Samb. Following student protests at École nationale des arts and the University of the Arts in Dakar in 1968, Samb embarked on his artistic career. He challenged the government's political repression and the conventions of its state-sponsored art campaign, proposing a free-flowing, unchronicled creation method. The Laboratoire Agit'Art, an art collective Samb co-founded in 1974, staged improvisational performances and workshops around Dakar, often conducted in Wolof, a native Senegalese dialect. As a member of this collective, Samb performed le travail de la nuit - night work - pacing the city in his dazzling garb, interacting with the city's residents, and forging a dream world that existed beyond convention. He remarked, "At least in Senegal, the country I come from, one exists in the movement of color at all moments of the day."
Several years ago, when Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki became aware of Issa Samb, he was intrigued by the artist's ability to weave contrast into cohesion. His eccentric style of dress exemplified this technique. Daiki too, began to map out a collection that could unite divergent styles. In what may be deemed "earth wear," the Spring Summer 2023 slate draws from the world's colors and unites them in unrestrained expression.
Daiki began his process with fabric selection, working with distributors to choose a bevy of swatches. He pieced together a consistent theme, cutting nearly half of the original samples. The remaining textiles are sourced from far-flung regions, including Nepal, Mexico, India, and Africa - featuring varying patterns, colors, and textures. Daiki also commissioned a handful of custom fabrics, most notably a custom floral print produced by Manabu Gaku Inada. Samb's palette heavily influences the collection - filled with warm reds, deep blues, and electric yellows.
In keeping with the theme of bringing things together, Daiki added silhouettes to the line, like the D Sum Jacket, Sarrouel Pant, Tibet Shirt, and Bontan Pant, inspired by designs from Asia. When placed alongside the brand's typical lineup of American traditional, work, and military garb, these new entrants provide a dynamism that broadens without diluting Engineered Garments' core identity.
The Engineered Garments Spring Summer 2023 collection realizes Daiki's long-held dream to create a whole season from bright, colorful fabric. As the Fall Winter 2022 collection was dark and brooding, this entry exudes happiness as people reconnect after years of isolation. Like Samb, the Engineered Garments Spring Summer 2023 collection exists in an original reality - one free from inhibition.