Profiling the confident aesthetic of NYC brand Commission
Exploring the textural brand’s latest shoot, which took place around London’s Brutalist Barbican centre
For its second S/S turn, womenswear label Commission considered the oxymoron of a corporate beach trip. ‘Dylan’s mother would scoop him up from school in their work van, with colleagues that were also mums. They’d pour onto the beach still wearing their nine-to-five work suits, barefoot, with a swimsuit underneath, trying to catch that evening sea breeze,’ explain co-founders Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong. ‘It was an oddly vivid and beautiful sight.’
Based in New York, Commission is the product of a collective sentiment, the moniker a spin of the founders’ ‘commissioning’ themselves. ‘It has a broad and slightly corporate characteristic which plays into the aesthetic of the brand,’ they add. At its core, the label translates to cloth a shared curiosity and respect for the working wardrobes of their mothers during the late 80s through to the early 90s, merged with something more contemporary and personal.
First announcing itself online in 2018 – a confident aesthetic and a streamlined collection that highlighted shape, texture and palette, it was quickly picked up by Net-a-Porter – Commission has since established a strong identity, celebrating the designers shared Asian-American identity and championing their immediate community. ‘Commercially our categories have grown,’ they consider of the label’s evolution, referencing the addition of knitwear and denim to its fundamental line-up of shirts and suiting. ‘We’re very much centred around the same narrative, but there’s a bit more fun. Our mothers not only went to work but also parties and gatherings!’
Beyond commercial acclaim, Kay, Cao and Luong were recently selected for the LVMH prize shortlist, the first trio to do so. ‘It was encouraging to see this new way of working being recognised,’ they note. ‘LVMH’s recognition led to an incredible broadening of awareness of the brand. This community we’re building, those who connect with our heritage and the translation of that through our products – and even those who might not come from the same background – has really multiplied.’
Teaming up with photographer Xiangyu Liu and stylist Tereza Ortiz for the S/S 2020 campaign, the trio shot around London’s Brutalist Barbican centre: lush blue carpeting highlights a chiffon red frock, as a pink floral number peers out from the concrete. ‘The location had that corporate, brutal eerie vibe at night,’ they describe, ‘perfect to take the S/S 2020 story out of its original context and re-tell it in an uncanny and rebellious manner, which suits the energy in Xiangyu’s photos – something we love so much.’ §