Dylan Cao, Jin Kay and Huy Luong are the indomitable founders of the exhilarating New York-based label Commission, which debuts a standalone men’s collection for A/W 2021. Fashion folklore has too often ignored the experience and aesthetics of first-generation immigrants and so, with the trio’s rigorous celebration of their mothers’ 1990s corporate glamour, Cao, Kay and Luong are broadening the lexicon of style.
Everything Commission does is informed by imagery from films, books and street scenes collected over time. ‘We wanted that to serve as a backdrop to this disintegration of this perceived formality of the Asian male archetype of the 80s, while playing into it a little but through a modern lens. With a hint of sexual confidence,’ they say. Naturally they looked at themselves, too, when developing their first men’s collection: ‘what’s still expected of us, how we should behave, how we carry ourselves – the way we want clothes to fit on our body.’
A coat and jacket have a signature curve closure at the neck, which mirrors a detail from their womenswear collections. It’s shown in lambskin, wool gabardine and faux mink – fabrics that are classically refined but have an off-kilter politesse. Drop collar blazers are in wool pinstripe, track pants are tailored in stretch crepe. The look is curious and modern. Rodeo shirts are in leopard-printed viscose and red wool. Jeans are cut dead straight and mid-rise. Small double pocket attaché bags are held anxiously close to the hip.
It is nostalgic but never costume: ‘Asian cultures have been deeply stereotyped for so long, so we just know when things look too dated. The community we’ve built over these two and a half years also give us a bona fide perspective on how clothes should be and feel in modern times, not just in a fashion vacuum or a picturesque editorial,’ they say. ‘Someone has to want to wear it without feeling like they’re stuck in a time warp.’
A version of this article appears in the September 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*269), now on newsstands and available for free download
London based writer Dal Chodha is editor-in-chief of Archivist Addendum — a publishing project that explores the gap between fashion editorial and academe. He writes for various international titles and journals on fashion, art and culture and is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. Chodha has been working in academic institutions for more than a decade and is Stage 1 Leader of the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins. In 2020 he published his first book SHOW NOTES, an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.
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