story by Lisa Radano
photos by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
Waiting outside the slightly derelict Pier 57, then waiting inside in the nearly pitch-black space, an eerie feeling was taking hold. Curtains were drawn to block out the last triangle of light coming off the West Side Highway. The vibe was reminiscent of a haunted castle ride at a long forgotten amusement park- spooky, and with growing expectation, and a bit of anxiety for what lay ahead. Spiritual music began to play, but the show did not begin for quite a while yet, building the anticipation, the closer we got to the show the deeper we went. Then, with an invisible flourish not unlike looking up to see the face of someone who will become important to you in life – the show began.
Lanky young men in blacks and grays and stark whites hurried by, as if being chased by personal demons. They wore a variety of judo pants, long wrapped skirts, drop-crotch harem pants, leather vests, and jackets not unlike something a dentist would wear, only in jet-black buttery leather. There were t-shirts and tunics and hoodies with asymmetric zippers. Here and there simple stones plucked from a brook were strung on round wire and hung around the neck. Wherever the collection might have veered off into the netherworld, it was brought back to the streets. There were monk coats but there were also jersey boy bomber jackets. The esoteric, knife-edged feel to the clothes was made – suitable – by an assortment of perfect black blazers, and was grounded by a selection of utilitarian Teva sandals and sneakers. Then there was a pause, the runway cleared. We waited again. And with a blinding eclat of rebirth energy, every model in the show was suddenly walking, no running by, shirtless, in every variety of pants in the collection, in only pale cream. Harem, drawstring, jodhpur, deconstructed trouser and jean, shorts, billowing wraps, blinding variety moving too fast to remember a moment later, yet indelible. Fast and beautifully brutal, like life. I asked Mr. Im if he believed in reincarnation. He responded as simply as if I’d asked him if he liked sandwiches. “Yes. And it’s true, I tried to bring a feeling of spirituality, life and death, and ghosts and angels. I explore death, but the clothes also have to work for life.” Here then are spiritual uniforms, for both the living – and those who hover. . . .