story by Seth Friedermann
photos by Adrianna Favero
Unorthodox is a neutral adjective. It makes no claims about the correctness or incorrectness of the noun it’s describing. The Sinister Collection‘s Spring 2011 line is unorthodox. That term is not used to avoid making a decision about whether or not I liked the collection, I did, rather I use it to make a point about the core nature of striking a very different chord than everybody else is playing.
Historically speaking whenever a fashion designer, or in this case designers, create radical work it is often rejected as being, “impractical”, “unwearable”, “costumey”, or “pretentious.” However, if they keep at it and do what they do, but do it better each season, then the fickle fashion press in some future season labels them as “pioneers”, “trail blazers”, or “groundbreaking”. This is my hope with Jerrmaner Bryant & Amanda Maestas of Sinister. As you can see in the photos, their designs do not resemble anything else on the market today. Much like the early works of Robert Cary Williams, Kenzo Takada, Yohji Yamamoto and New York’s own Threeasfour, their work is likely to be met with criticism, or at best confusion.
Their inspiration, of D.I.Y clothing created by a girl who has only canvas and bandages to work with, explains the collection in a general way, but does not answer the likely hue & cry of, “who will wear this” and “what store will buy it?” To be sure there are some normalizing touches in their work. The wide flattened ruffles and A line skirts are classic fashion and have been used hundreds of times before, but here the level of deconstruction is so severe that even the familiar is made odd. The clothing is primarily tied together with canvas straps passed through grommets further adding to the scrounged and stitched feel, which I found to be quite bold. For as much market based uncertainty as a collection like this creates it is important to bear two critical proven facts in mind; there is a long history in fashion of designers who are successful making very “unusual” clothing, and designs are “unwearable” and “unsalable” until somebody suddenly buys it and wears it.
NOTE: The images here are from the formal presentation, but we have posted high resolution backstage images in the Gallery section.