Gender Neutrality in Fashion and the Future | EDGE Interviews Brendan M Combs

I love to wear both women’s and men’s clothes, and have met several like minded people who think the removal of gender labels on clothes would change the idea of dressing in general. – Brendan M Combs, designer.

Brendan M Combs is a recent fashion design graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design [SCAD] and got a “chance” opportunity to show at New York Fashion Week, Art Hearts Fashion.

Courtesy of BrendanMCombs, IMG_3241

This is the 3rd interview of a 3 part interview series with Brendan who shares his design preparation, BTS [behind the scenes], his experience at SCAD, and vision for his brand and the future of fashion to the EDGE network and viewers.

In this interview, Brendan speaks of his vision; who or what influences him; getting exposed is not all social media; and his thoughts on the future of fashion.

brendan04Tell us about the vision of your brand?  What are some influences and where do you draw your inspiration from?

The vision of BRENDANMCOMBS began when I actually started into fashion design.  It was completely based around gender-neutrality (it was an initial starting point for me when I entered the program in 2010).   I love to wear both women’s and men’s clothes, and have met several like minded people who think the removal of gender labels on clothes would change the idea of dressing in general.  That was the starting point; the people I design in mind for are somewhat off-color, quirky, with a lot of edge to them.brendan01

A good majority of my influences come from music, Alison Mosshart, Alice Glass, Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, and Johnny Cash. The way they dressed became this moment for me growing up.   I like to watch a lot of films that were specific to the mood of the season I’m designing, but one of my all-time favorites is Requiem For A Dream, and Factory Girl.  Edie Sedgwick was the first person I’d say who really inspired me.

In the realm of design I’d say Yves Saint Laurent was a major inspiration for me especially Le Smoking.  I also tend to always find myself looking at several different artists for inspiration like Ryoji Ikeda, James Turrell, Claude Monet, Gustave Moreau, Andy Warhol, and Anthony Goicolea.brendan02

I can see the influences of these that you named in your designs.

As an up and coming designer it is not easy getting your collection exposed.  Exposure comes in many ways, such as product placement; trade shows; fashion shows; website; social media; meeting with retail buyers, etc.  Each designer will tailor what is right for them, where they find the most value. You got a taste of how a fashion show can [or cannot] benefit the designer at NYFW.

What is your plan of how you will expose your collection?

There’s honestly no right way anymore. It’s all about timing, and building relationships. Social media is great, but because of the saturation of photos across the internet it can be difficult for you to be seen, it’s an important piece of the puzzle, but like Anna Wintour said, “Instagram likes does not equate to profitability” and she’s right.brendan03

I think it’s a combination of everything for a RTW [ready-to-wear] designer because buyers and editors want to see a show so they know what it looks like on the body, and experience the collection from your perspective, but it’s incredibly important for them to see it on the rack as well, and to meet you and talk one on one with you, otherwise, how do you ever expect to place your first order?

Courtesy of BrendanMCombs, brendan06Brendan, do you have any thoughts on the future of fashion? Where do you think fashion is going or where should it go?

No matter what happens in fashion I’ll always be excited for it. I feel that fashion is definitely becoming less and less private, and more for the people. Global.

There are so many conversations being had right now and they’re all important:   gender-neutrality in fashion, are seasons even important to a collection anymore?  How do I reach the world market that experiences a different season than the other portion?  How do we start paying interns?  Where is the next Fashion Capital going to be?  How can designers keep up the pace that production schedules are demanding from them?

Courtesy of BrendanMCombs, IMG_2970
models in Brendan M Combs

With the shift into the millennial generation, who are going to be the next icons of fashion, and the next major power players, and the next Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, Raf Simons, Yves Saint Laurent etc.?

Brendan, you are off to a good start as a recent graduate with focus, determination, and insight.  We thank you for this candid 3 part interview.

Read more on this 3 part interview with Brendan:

EDGE congratulates Brendan M Combs on his journey so far and extends continued success for the future!
Thank you!

All Lookbook Images Courtesy of BrendanMCombs, photo by Lia H Clay.  All Other Images Courtesy of Brendan M Combs.


Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor

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