The street brand’s capsule collection gives old denim a new, high-end life.
Dissolution, decay, and falling apart to find new life are ideas behind WRKDEPT’s first denim capsule collection.
“It’s the idea of letting go of old things to create something new and beautiful,” explains the street brand’s designer and photographer Andy Long Hoang, who along with stylist Tinashe Musara, started WRKDEPT in 2013 with a collection of five T-shirts. “I think it’s cool that we’re recycling unique pieces that have been through the retail cycle so they’re kind of unwanted… we give them new life.”
The duo approach their line with a satirical perspective that’s full of love, and inspired, in part by their travels and international backgrounds. (Andy moved from Vietnam to Montreal at age 19, while Tinashe came here from Zimbabwe when he was 14.) For example, Spring/Summer 2015 was designed in Japan and features photos Andy took in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. For Spring/Summer 2016, a focus will be on “the best fake Vietnamese silks.” Andy flew to the North of Vietnam, went to the mountains, “and got all the fabrics from different tribes,” he says gleefully.
Back to the denim, the first step in the three-month process of creating this capsule collection was to identify pieces to work with. “We went for the flares, the really good quality Levi’s,” says Tinashe about their hunt through Montreal’s second-hand shops. His favourite piece? “An old Parasuco jacket with a shredded collar.” Some pieces came from the infamous Salvation Army bazaar in Tokyo, where Andy lined up with hordes of others on the one morning a week it’s open for business. “It was amazing,” he recalls.
Then, the designer did his thing; aging, washing, bleaching and dyeing these finds into brand new creations. “The theme of decay came from bleaching and shredding, and bleaching and shredding,” Tinashe explains. “After the first wash, the denim was shredding itself. We did that ‘times ten.’ We had some fails, some things were too ripped, but ideally, a piece of denim shredded to bits.”
Andy adds, “I’ve been drawing in bleach, too.”
With stories behind every piece and a video library dedicated to the capsule collection, WRKDEPT also collaborated with Quebec-based French furniture designer Loïc Bard to design custom wood accessories and masks. “That collaboration has yielded so much surprise,” Tinashe says, pointing out the contrast between the natural qualities of wood and the synthetic qualities of treated denim. “It brings a whole new 3D element.”
Relating to their denim, Tinashe says “It’s taking an old trend and saying, ‘How can we make this high-end? How can we take an aesthetic product that everybody uses and make it cool and fun again?'”
All images courtesy of WRKDEPT.
WRKDEPT DENIM CAPSULE COLLECTION 01 launches September 23 from 6 to 10 PM at Le Rhinocéros by Phi with oysters, cocktails, plus music by DJs M. Bootyspoon and Empress.
RSVP mandatory. For more info, visit the Facebook event.