Siki Im Was a Moment of Zen During the NYFWM Storm
Yesterday, on the last day of NYFW: Men’s, Siki Im showed the SS17 collections for his mainline SIKI IM, his extension line SIKI IM / DEN IM, and debuted his new line of performance wear SIKI IM / CROSS in an incredibly intimate presentation. According to the show notes, for this season the German bred designer and trained architect was apparently inspired by “Zen monks and their simplicity.” Monks, according to the notes, “endure trends and tribulation through consistency and persistence. They look effortlessly elegant in their utilitarian garments by being quiet but strong.” If that first sentence—particularly the “trends and tribulation” part—made you pause, you’re not alone. When one think of monks, one tends to think of strict abstinence, of self-control, and the dangers of the ego—not trends. And certainly not the hoodie trend.
Yet even if this was a typo, it still speaks strongly to Im’s approach to and opinion of the fashion world today. To him, trends aren’t something to adhere to, but rather something to endure. To endure, that is, until they goes away. What interests Im is not the fleeting, but the reliable. His SS17 collection, he told me, “is kind of the opposite of what’s going on in the market”—a market in which design skills are neglected and hollow trends reign. Unsurprising as it may have been, it still felt like a breath of fresh, non-Instagrammable air when, after complimenting the collection, Im said to me, “You can be critical of it too, you know!”
Ever since presenting his first SS10 collection, Im has consistently made designs that up the ante for every other New York City-based menswear designer, challenge the status (and often tired) quo, and ones that elevate the cachet of the NYC menswear market. And the clothes he presented yesterday were indeed reliable—not to mention the close friends Im summoned to model the looks.
“This season is about the product and about real people,” Im told me. “And it couldn’t be more real than having your best friends wearing it, who wear my clothes anyways.” These friends included Maxwell Osborne of Public School and DKNY, all timid and giggly; former hardcore punk musician and Im’s childhood hero, Walter Schreifels; founder of Atelier New York, Karlo Steel; Theory’s creative director Ben Stubbington; tattoo artist Logan Wolf; artist David Flinn; and many more.
And the clothes were just as practical and expertly crafted as you’d expect from a former Parsons teacher. There were suits fashioned out of super 120s wool; kimono overcoats; shorts, shirts, and loose flowing trenches fashioned out of selvedge jean and chinos; comfy looking under cropped crewnecks; as well as shorts (some layered and others not) and t-shirts in a sweatshirt looking fabric. The majority of which stayed within a monochrome white, black, beige, and grey palette—with the occasional pink thrown in.
These are clothes that, Im told me, are meant to be worn together. “I wanted to put them all together,” Im said. “How I like it, how I wear it, [so that it comes off as] more real.” And real it certainly was—real and real good.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from NYFW.
All photos via Siki Im and Instagram.