One of Korean designer Moon Choi’s earliest sartorial memories is seeing her father leave for work everyday in a crisp, tailored suit. “He always told me that what people wear is very important because it represents their personality,” says the Parsons graduate, who gained experience working at 3.1 Phillip Lim. Today, tailoring is the key design element of her eponymous line, which made its formal debut with her Fall/Winter 2018 show in New York. The collection featured languid silhouettes made from lightweight and heavy fabrics in a soft-focus palette. By playing with texture, Choi’s shapes appear softer than traditionally sharp tailoring. She created exaggerated shoulders, duster jackets, roomy blazers, and wide-legged pants, all of which are genderless. By not labelling specific pieces, Choi is truly putting her father’s advice into practice, and letting each shopper’s style M.O. dictate their look. “I think clothing shouldn’t be defined by gender, but should depend on personal taste and identity,” she says. For this emerging designer, clothing allows her to walk the line between contrasting concepts. “I try to play with the ideas of colour and confidence,” says Choi. “Broad shoulders are masculine, but the necklines and tightly belted waists are more feminine. I always try to show the beauty of that balance.”
In light of #MeToo rightfully dominating headlines, Collina Strada designer Hillary Taymour used her Fall/Winter 2018 collection to contribute to the conversation. The designer is known for creating conceptual collections and runway shows that communicate a particular message, and this one was all about self-love. “Everyone was putting out so much anger,” she says of the cultural moment. “Nothing gets solved with anger. Everything gets solved with love.” Her fall show in New York was quite literally a celebration of self-love, and featured actress and photographer Sasha Frolova marrying her higher self. Known for creating both artful, inventive shapes and wardrobe staples, Taymour challenged herself to create bridal looks that fit into Collina Strada’s world. The result? Leopard-print separates, a crushed-velvet slip, and a bride in cargo pants, an apron skirt, and pierced-nipple t-shirt. The designer—who launched her label with handbags and accessories before expanding to ready-to-wear—also produced market-ready pieces like shirts with the words “self-love” and “dearly beloved” on them. “I want to have strong concepts moving forward, or else to me, it devalues the clothes,” says Taymour. “I’ve been given a voice, and I want to use it to say something.”
According to Chez Bippy’s Instagram, the Toronto-based brand’s co-founders, Alyssa Goodman and Jason Power, create timeless pieces “for everyone. Pour tout le monde.” It’s a broad goal, but one that has been at the forefront of their design philosophy since the ethical label’s launch just one year ago. Together, the couple produces casual basics like a perfect Breton-striped top, crew-neck pullover or made-to-measure pants—all of which are non-gendered and can be worn by anyone. Besides inclusivity, sustainability and the use of ethically-sourced textiles are also part of Chez Bippy’s DNA. “We want people to know that we paid a little more attention to every facet of the process,” says Goodman. “Where we’re getting [fabrics] from, how it’s made and how it influences the planet—but we’ve still created something affordable and approachable.” For fall, Goodman and Power are expanding their current line to include tailored pieces and suiting. Not only has their work led to conversations with shoppers about which pieces to make next, it’s also inspired opportunities to learn what sustainability means to their consumers. Discussions like these have fostered a sense of community around the brand, and it’s one that, well, everyone can be part of.