Monday, February 28, 2011


Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, a “self” towards an “other”, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity, 
SIKI IM’s Spring Summer 2011 collection is inspired by the notion of isolation and integration driven by the physical, emotional, and political context of immigration, A forest of concrete social housing buildings at the periphery that provides an oppressive landscape is the backdrop of this emotionally charged subject. This image portrays minorities detached from Western society with differences in values and customs in European an Urban cities. Immigrants are trying to build a new living space that might be reminiscent of one’s origin and heritage - a heretically closed space that argues the foreignty of the new environment, or the environment argues the new settlers. They want to keep tradition and values of their ancestors, accustom and adjust but face social, economical and physical barriers. 
This dichotomy and friction in hope of integration ,manifests and opens a new culture of its own. This new identity is a sign for respect, freedom and tolerance. It is also a reflection of globalization and modernity. 
The collection reflects this dialectic approach with references of the protagonists from the socio-critical film la Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz: Bomber jackets, jogging pants, shorts, caps are present but fabricated in luxurious washes and dyed silks. Quilting techniques of armor and tradition are applied on trench coats, shorts, and embellished on newer silhouettes of T-shirts. These highly detailed garments are paired with cropped hand tailored blazers in Super 130’s or Wool-silk, long gowns and tunic shirts in cotton or silk, and a voluminous dropped crotch pant - all made in New York City. This juxtaposition of different styles that are emblematic of Western and ethnic cultures allow for newer innovative shapes and proportions. 
While the overall tone might reflect a street influence, the construction of the garments stays true to Siki Im’s signature minimalist construction and purity in design. 
It is the designer’s unique vision that is able to transcend the usually stigmatized immigrant style and to elevate it to a statement of modernity; proposing a synthesis of opposing cultural paradigms, old and new, tradition and subculture. 
It is nice for once to see a collection from a designer with not only such strong aesthetic direction, but with such evident inspirational references and such depth with regards to the overall subject matter. Siki Im himself seems to have a gift for taking inspiration directly from his physical environment as he worked for many years as an architect before turning towards fashion. His FW11/12 is out now as well, and while it is as strong as this collection, I like this one better. You can see his FW work on his facebook page at the link below:
or check out his past collections at his website: 

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