1. Four up-and-coming designers were part of this collection
If you can’t resist an engaging story behind a fashion collection, MINI’s recent collaboration with renowned textile brand The Woolmark Company might just pique your fancy.
A little backstory to this collection: It was unveiled earlier this year at Pitti Uomo 94 in Italy, which is no mean feat as it is one of the most recognised fairs worldwide for men’s fashion and lifestyle. Featuring 16 pieces from four up-and-coming designers from across the globe, the limited-edition capsule was designed with the theme “Transcending Borders” in mind.
2. Travel played a major role in the design inspiration
Want to know what “Transcending Borders” means to this talented pool of designers? Made to appeal to the urban traveller—an explorer who enjoys soaking up different cultures and experiences across borders, the pieces combine the innovation and design ethos of both MINI and The Woolmark Company with a dash of creativity courtesy of these four designers. The talents include Liam Hodges (United Kingdom), Staffonly (China), PH5 (USA) and Rike Feurstein (Germany).
Spot their personal memories from individual travel experiences weaved into fashion-forward pieces. A fine example is Staffonly’s inspiration for this collection—Greenwich Park in England. Elements from the park make for a unique theme to Staffonly’s ensemble and matching accessories, from the lush green hue of the park lawn to the Prime Meridian at Greenwich (reminiscent of the MINI’s iconic Bonnet Stripes.)
3. One of the designers is a knitwear innovator
Dynamic duo Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin of NYC-based knitwear label PH5 is breaking boundaries with a myriad of whimsical designs and next-level innovative knitting techniques. “Every season, we try to do something that hasn’t been done before. Our past innovations include introducing PU print to knitwear, using a stitch that we’ve never done before, and also needle-punching 7-colour mohair into sweaters,” says Wei Lin. “Last season, we introduced sheer merino wool to our designs—which was a challenge because merino wool is just like human hair in a sense that you can dye it but you can’t make it transparent. It was difficult for us to make merino wool sheer but we were able to make it happen.”
But what they have created for MINI Fashion Field Notes Capsule Collection will make you change your mind about wearing knits for our climate. “We were inspired by Miami, and we wanted to create knits that are light, breathable and perfect for summer. The piece is sheer, thin and lightweight, plus there is also jacquard above the sheer material for a chic touch,” says Mijia.
“We wanted it to be happy, cosy, yet elegant at the same time. A jumpsuit was a no-brainer because it’s a good alternative to a cocktail dress and it can be quite a statement piece-and no one really thinks of knitwear as statement pieces,” says Wei Lin. “So you can wear the jumpsuit without the sheer top for an event, and maybe both for indoors. This look is a statement on behalf of who we are as a brand and what we are trying to do.”
4. Liam Hodges had literal references for his piece
For British designer Liam Hodges, drawing inspiration from UK’s various modern sub-cultures (including streetwear, post-punk, and the like) for his work does not require a second thought. The designer is known for wide silhouettes, patch working, and references to workwear and sportswear, but this time around, Hodges is materializing his encounters in New York City for the capsule collection.
When queried on his city of choice for inspiration, here’s what Hodges had to say: “It was a conscious decision to look outside the UK. We are a global brand and currently stocked in 14 countries, and we always have very niche references anyway. I was inspired by the main character, Theo Decker, in The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. I would see Theo in these pieces, especially this coat—it’s my play on what he would wear later on in the last few years of the book. You can see literal representations from the book printed on the shirt—the goldfinch, my ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the museum itself, where I’m staying in Brooklyn—basically my journey in New York City.”
But what does he think about travel from a designer’s perspective? “Travel is really important in terms of connections to reality. Everyone says you can get everything online, but it isn’t the same. You need to go into a library and find that book that no one has picked up in 20 years, that no one has picked up online. And since social media has all these algorithms now, everyone’s just looking at the same stuff. Travel is important to find out the things you never knew online.”
5. The exhibition space was photo-worthy in every way
The setup of the space made the perfect backdrop for any #OOTD, thanks to industrial elements of steel, wood and grey concrete-wash paneling for an urban aesthetic. Photo prop options ran the gamut from the lounging by the seats to striking a pose next to the chicly-decked mannequins. Check out all the buzz from the exhibition on social media with the hashtags #MINIFashion and #MINImalaysia!
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