“I wanted to bring the skate park to the runway,” said Steve Aoki, the DJ, record label owner and designer who has spent the last year and a half prepping Dim Mak, the apparel line he’s produced and sold in Japan, for the U.S. market.
Since being active is a trend, this New York Fashion Week: Men’s season has already shown a few designers injecting movement into their shows — whether that was the ice skating at Samuelsohn or the light cycling at Uri Minkoff. But Aoki’s presentation was more of a bold declaration as opposed to a cute idea. The CFDA allowed him to set up two half-pipes within Skylight Clarkson Sq where groups of Dim Mak-wearing skaters took turns dropping in while Mangchi, a self described “hammer” band — mangchi means hammer in Korean — performed.
For the past few seasons, the skater’s wardrobe has been a primary point of reference for a multitude of brands, but Aoki’s proposition felt authentic. The skaters looked quite comfortable in the collection, which consisted of the pieces one would expect — hoodies, denim jackets, Carhartt-style coats and wide-leg trousers — but Aoki said he made a concentrated effort to distinguish the line from what’s already in the U.S. market.
He did that with the graphics, which were created by artist and Mangchi frontman David Choe; the pastel color palette, and details such as the reflective strips he placed on pants or the “By Any Means Necessary” graphic featured on mock necks. Other highlights included a mohair sweater, an iridescent bomber jacket and a trenchcoat painted with a black figure and a gunshot wound.
Aoki has always had things to say about the state of the world, and that was evident with his presentation. But he was also able to show intriguing clothes that could provide a respite from reality.