Minimalist or Minimal Acumen

Bless up from your feet to your head top,

We go again,

How do you actually experience fashion?

What are your feelings when wearing clothes?

There are 3 types of minimal clients. The essential client, the all-black, or head to toe one designer. Throughout this particular clientele, we are seeing the philosophy of minimalism, portrayed, taken and twisted as ‘I dress only within the bounds of this designer/colour/clothing codes’. When there’s a reality in the philosophy of minimalism, which is built from a foundation of understanding the dynamic tenets of a subject matter, stripping away those that aren’t in use and having a full life enacting the principles you’re left with. Those thoughts considered, Minimalism is a thought-provoking exercise of proof of knowledge, principle and acumen, in this instance acumen of fashion design and styling.

A tangential example of this is an Apple iPhone. The complexity of the product is so vast Apple’s revenue per employee is 2-million USD. The most recent Apple phone is a luxury item as it is on the most advanced market-ready machines. You do not need a PhD to work the product, they distilled the dynamic philosophy of the product down to simple gestures you can make with your thumb. And index finger if completely necessary. Having stayed that way for a few decades now they set the pace for the way we interact with product.

If you need more proof, think about the last time you looked at the iPhone instruction manual? And did it come in the box? Ready to use out of the box and almost frictionless user experience.

Tasteful decisions were made to make something so simple. Now I’m not saying you have to be an Apple engineer with the way you dress but there is an engineering level to the way people have and wear clothes – it’s called manufacturing, textile engineering and ergonomics. Each are taken into consideration if the designer values humans.

There are low tolerance ways to have designers not care but still work and that is fashion school, it’s not necessary, yet it’s built up of a history of understanding.

If you use this fabric it hangs this way, if you use this other fabric it won’t work

If you put the seam here then this is the way it will fit. If you make the armhole this diameter this is how it will look

If you are running in this item heat and static electricity will be generated. If you develop the fabric this way it will breathe and expend heat.

Those are the breaks. Simple breakdown of a couple dynamic thought processes that are somewhat intuitive today or not necessary for the designer to focus on and they will just think of design. I will cap this off by saying designers who skimp on studies it shows up in the quality of their work.

In today’s day and age we are less inclined to be considerate to people who lack in the design area. And manufacturing companies have made it so easy most people wear blanks manufactured by machines made to last 12 to 18 months depending on quality. This is a low tolerance entry point for most people. And much of the merchandise we see made today, very few things are majority made by hand. This is why it’s easy to get away with being called minimalist as it is minimal effort, – I want to know are we really dealing with minimalists in philosophy or are we dealing with people with minimal design/style acumen

Full Disclosure – Small Disclaimer

I want to add a disclaimer – there are people who openly admit to not being fashion-forward and know they flow with the trends of the now and don’t want to think so much about the clothes and where they came from so by and large Have the same wardrobe since they settled into the style they have. I am not talking about these people. I will be talking about the people who tout that they are minimalist but just have minimal acumen

A massive tell, tell sign someone has minimal acumen is they speak as if their single colour wardrobe or essentials / grey man orientated wardrobe is based on a deep philosophical drive to distil their life essence into one drop of clothes

Through youth, wanting to be deep, lack of information or creativity we have a sector of the menswear population who lord their minimal acumen as if they have the keys to the world. I address menswear as I see it more here, there could be women just as fair who do the same.

In a time right now where there is so much consolidation of creativity, many people create essential collections, with a grey marble or earth tone colour palette; and we are making less and less wardrobe decisions; it’s only understandable for people who were once overwhelmed no longer run from expensive items.

Expensive being the operative word. Fashion as the industry arbiters of taste created a structure where the t-shirt, jumper, and tracksuit were the bottom rung. Now the hoodie is a luxury item. Mid-tier value being £120. We see expensive “essentials” wardrobe schemes with the cozy style uniform and colour palette.

Designer Fan

On the opposite end of the spectrum within the fashion industry, you have people who will well one designer who has been called Avant-Garde for the past 30 years and said male is in their artiste emo awakening think they’re Avant-Garde too they latch on to the said designer. Now they learn everything there is to this designer and because social media is so giving if you have some items of certain designers you are allowed into these enclaves of people who have an adoration of the designer. Now with the knowledge of this single designer our Avant-Garde-Atiste in their emo era has all this information they get to share along with some things they glean, which can genuinely be well-founded. Don’t get me wrong it can be fun and can feel like you have found your home, however, this designer may not even tout minimalist nor does that make your wardrobe minimalist – more fitting they have a singular directive to support a designer and are part of the fan club, which is amazing if you can find that type of love.

Minimal Essentials

I myself know this clique intimately. Formulated of many kinds of people, I will say one archetype I know well. This person works, dozens of hours a week may very well be a content creator, with less time than they have trainers. And they do education (personal development) alongside their content. What time do they have to pick clothes? Let alone create a style that is original, however, there goes the dilemma they’re supposed to be a content creator with ideas in the dozens so they should be able to formulate some sort of creative way to dress to represent themselves. Well, this takes time, there are people who take real-time to achieve their most effective style and then stopping it back. This is not them. They skip the years of experimenting come up with a reason why they have very few pieces attached it to the Google definition of minimal and there you have content for this ungodly idea.

Slight disclaimer, maybe in your head you are thinking Fear of God essentials. No, we are talking, one colour 4 tees four jumpers, 2 suits a pair of shoes and a workout outfit, definition of essentials.

I have spoken about the classic menswear items every man needs in their wardrobe, I did not think it would turn into men believing their style is classic and timeless because they either only wear suits and workout gear or only wear jumpers and blue jeans because Steve Jobs is a billionaire and he only wears that too… — I say to myself ‘But Steve wore…’ then stop myself to let people enjoy things — … or they wear an arrangement of Earth tone colours brown tan grey and black and say their muted palettes are essential and timeless colours because [insert esoteric statement] and they can spend the rest of their life like that.

Either one of these essential styles barring the last in my personal opinion are at all offensive. However doing those things isn’t new, creative or well thought out let alone minimalist. Like I say we can start at different points and end at the same place – but to see something copy it and slap an esoteric statement over it is not the best portrayal of your talents or quality of style as you didn’t explore. Imagine they tried so many things and all the content they would have in trying their hand at different style and landing there. There would be so much sense made. I’m not trying to tell people how to live their lives I’m just going to say your style isn’t minimal it’s actually overdone.

Minimal colour (blacked out)

The number 1 culprit in my book, where it all started, – you can insert cringe style video here. – As it’s really overdone, so not minimal by existence. I won’t lie I have the least problem with this one, as I was here (As in wearing black head to toes, not calling my black outfits minimal). I do have to call a spade a spade, there is some fear in this one. There’s fear in the others, however, I know it so intimately, as I have helped people grow in their style.

Much of blacked out is based on fear of exploring into colour because you don’t know how it will look. — Take it from someone who pumped up orange in the hood for years before the brothers on the street were wearing it. I know it’s a challenge to get orange in the wardrobe, pink too. — The grandest exploration out of here I will say is wearing white and even the introduction of grey, we know sweat stains show up on grey, so grey in itself is a risk taken.

The best people who mask the all-black fantasy is the Avant-Garde collectors and the anti-fashion squad. Because each item comes with a story of how you looked for it or bought it doesn’t make it any less fear base if you look at the story of the wardrobe collection as a whole. The tell-tell sign that is very subtle is how they talk about texture and fabric, if they talk about mixing a black cotton tee with black denim jeans as if it were this idea graces on them by a higher power you have a right to side-eye.

You can have originality range creativity and fun exploring different clothes and styles, the way the second-hand market stands today you have the ability to buy quality item and sell them at a profit or at a marginal loss. It would only take a little work, if you don’t want to work, that’s fine. That is called minimal acumen, it does not however make your style Minimalist – I can say though do take solace in it being minimal by virtue you haven’t thought too much about it.

NYT STYLE: What Makes a Hypebeast a Hypebeast

Bless up from your feet to your head top

We go again

Who are you when you put on clothes? It’s a weird question, partly facetious and partly vain. The thing is, to the people who really live it, you wouldn’t understand what goes through their minds when they get a fit off perfectly for the day. It can change your whole mood, your whole aura.

The experience is qualitative not quantitative, I could tell you how it feels but the feeling varies from person to person. There are times at which the aura can be felt from outside in, for those of us that completely feel fulfilled inside out.

Fashion for most is an individual and self centred pursuit that allows for such a range of self expression today that in a room full of fashion people that feel this way it can light up a room.

I see no problem in what some would call facetious, vain, narcissistic, or self centred. Self fulfilment is part of human identity, if you are full, if you feel 100%, your cup runs over and you can pour into someone else.

This may be seen as too philosophical an approach, nonetheless I’ve seen it happen umpteen times.

The problem I find is when people think the clothes make the person the hypebeast.

Fashion has so many statements today that it’s electrifying, like I said these people can light up a room, at the same time that level of energy can be destructive when applied negatively. People who don’t have all their ducks in a row can burst at the seams for attention, they will activate a toxic environment for those around them and left unchecked they will come off as malevolent to those around them. Not be, malevolent but have the energy of someone who doesn’t care for what they do to others.

Many people derive hypebeasts from sneaker culture, mainly because of the growth in the marketing of exclusivity from the market as well as Supreme getting to a Billion and being deemed a Luxury brand. Growth of Jordan Collaborations and other classic Nike Shapes all for competition with Yeezy.

when the internet is engrossed with something the value goes to us, whether the engrossment is good or bad, it’s all worth it to the supplier.

The internet Kids became enthralled by the Marketing of FOMO and gaining of exclusive products it changed the Crep market altogether, secondhand and reselling rose to the occasion, Stock X, Grailed and Sneaker all benefitted from this innovation. As written in the previous Paragraph that was a whole host of correlating points that led to the growth of the trainer market in the world, quite rightly so, it takes more than one brand initiative, app, or piece of clothing to make a hype beast. – Funnily enough Hype beasts usually have many pieces, even multiples of ones. Moreover I cant altogether say if you dress a certain way you are a Hype Beast.

The most important part of this message is knowing that I cannot talk about someone who wears Jordans, or Supreme and call them a hypebeast, as much as i can call someone who wears Margiela Tabis and call them ‘Fashion Forward’. Just as someone that’s in the sphere, I meet many people who wear so-called High fashion pieces and fancy themselves as Fashion Forward, I can’t say in the slightest I agree with them. A pair of Tabi’s does not make you fashion forward just as Supreme doesn’t make you a hype beast.

I can go so far as to say there are people that wear Comme Des Garçon, Margiela, Rick Owens that I would consider hypebeasts. Just as much as the direction of a hypebeast isn’t consistent with Supreme, Jordan and Yeezy

In fact all of them are included in this analysis, back to my original metaphor Hypebeasts take away good energy, the exuberance of loving how you look and sharing that energy with others, to wanting to be seen by everyone and trying to grab attention in as many ways as possible.

This type of imbalance brings so much vitriol to fashion. The people of this cloth will be the first most people will meet in the fashion sphere, – not saying its perfect, nor saying it’s not filled with trifling people – but it is a terrible first contact. The clothes will be wearing them, the statement pieces will be out of place if that wasn’t enough the energy will be all take, take take, look at me I want attention, ‘See how much better I am than you’. So many issues to be addressed there but because the clothes have the perception of being called fashion, people perceive these people to be in fashion, some are, most is a facade

The Hypebeast is an invention of the game to classify a subset of people in order to square them away. Just as streetwear turned up and eboys thereafter Hediboys, Jerrybois Rick Chad etcetera. Hypebeasts are a big part of fashion and enhance it and even uplift it in their own ways, just as everyone else does.

They curate a vibe and are mostly an entry point for most people getting into fashion today, many people are scared this is the future when the reality is the classification comes from the people who like to name things, now its connotation is so negative it needs an update. I can’t say the type of appreciation a Hype beast would have is explicitly negative, it’s only because it contrasts so much with the appreciation I’m so accustomed to today.

People want to learn, people love fashion and people appreciate how they want. It’s only when it impresses negatively on others I get a strange quell to regulate but the reality as I see it, they become less burdensome the more they learn and the ones I come across- in my unique position- love to learn. Coming from the Antifashion side or the Streetwear side I endear myself to those with open minds

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

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Spring of The Rookie Kiko Kostadinov – The way of the Dark Stallion

Bless up from your feet to your head top

We go again

I first encountered Kiko after his SS18 collection but in 2019 I wasn’t sure if I was late or early to the party but I was sure he was doing the right thing. This relative unknown then became the dark horse in the race to evolve menswear.

Kiko and his ASICS collab have had him in the sights of many men in fashion wanting more from him and wanting well of him, he seems to provoke in men what Chanel was said to have provoked in women back in her day. We see Kiko garner the attention of men all over wanting the uniform of ‘a man’, this really interests me as I have been working on my menswear thesis for quite some time Kiko seems to design in alignment to some of my brief. And as a relatively new and fairly obscure designer it seems he has a formula to bring more men into fashion.

This is why he is part of the Spring of the Rookie, I pick my rookies due to years in the game, Kiko Debut in 2017 and if you aren’t looking for him you may not find him but much like Sam Ross I feel his vigour and his energy is oxygen to the flame of the new Menswear ethos. Reason being you see Kiko here, I enjoy being on the right side of history and this man is my second gamble he may become a pillar of the community or a slab that lay the foundation this is my lot to say the former. I see him as someone that can grow into potentially one of the top designers of our generation given time and guidance

Kiko began his journey in Belgium of all places moving to the U.K. as a teen and going to Central Saint Martins. Already his story is quite interesting as an immigrant coming to London to study fashion is nary a thing you hear of, the creative arts is something that’s feared by immigrant families because its nature is due to a gamble not everyone is here to make it. My guess is Kiko bet on himself enough to get the funds to educate himself in fashion, as hard as it may be he done it as a man. I rarely hear stories of people coming to the U.K. to make it in Creative industries let alone business these stories are usually reserved for America. I believe this start is what draws certain men to Kiko that understanding of someone who decided to go for his dream and achieve it in a land he didn’t know. Whether he will stay here due to the U.K. laws on art and entrepreneurship, that’s a conversation for a different day. Kiko is here and men love him right now.

As a designer Kiko Kostadinov focuses highly on tailoring using his eye for utility his garments are very structured and he seems to challenge himself pushing the way he references and the kind of garments he constructs. The type of shapes and patterns he uses as details remind me of 70’s Abstract Modernism work, found in his beloved Belgium maybe Thomas Kapsalis morso Karel Maes if I do say so myself the shapes and colours certainly do seem inspired in that direction and that to me has me tip my hat of to him as someone drawing from his home and creating work that is representative of all things that are him.

Functionally his clothes seem to focus heavily on masculine aesthetic shows me so much about himself, his ethos certainly shows itself through his clothes and it is fair to say he enjoys his work. He seems to consider so much from his references in art to the designers and film. He doesn’t romanticise men but sees them how they are and enjoys being one, if that is an honest turn of phrase. So when we say he’s utilitarian it’s to mean he makes what is of use and when we say abstract modernist it’s to say he creates a design language recognisable to him without compromising the garment the wearer or himself.

I have to note he covers himself in controversy being so soon out as he is prone to profane outbursts calling out designers like Virgil Abloh for instance, turning his nose up at designers who may not be like him, you would think as an artist he would be more considerate of others feelings, yet he’s not. He leaves room for him to be memed as a tyrant that feels more prestige because of his pedigree having been to CSM and worked for certain labels. As an artist that talks about other artists as well I refrain from sending harsh or profane language someone’s way and if I critique its to be constructive because I want there to be a better intention for great work. I do see he is a whole person as an artist you buy into him and if you are cool with him you can be cool with his clothes. Maybe he comes from a space of love for the craft but I don’t see it as a valuable use of time talking about other designers this way as you are trying to come out of relative obscurity, not that I think it hurt or helps but that’s how I see it.

He shares a space with no one and may be here to define a new way or new lane for designers as a whole and create a language for men at mass, we are looking forward to something new as he has laid a foundation with these firsts collections, his work seems to have some sort of factory setting so it would be fun to see something different pushing his boundaries but there is something to be said for someone who is consistently showing greatness within the bounds they laid for themselves.

This is my Rookie Kiko

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

If you want to donate to help out this growing platform all patronage is welcome

Follow my socials Instagram: @NYTypical Twitter: @ARAHofNYT

To learn more about Owning Your Own Ship – OYOS  

Please check out Some of my Thoughts On:

For some longer form write ups Read some of My Dialogues

Click here for my Essays 

 On My series work

Spring Of The Rookie

Sickle Cell Companion