Who? Philip Kofi Wagner
What? Neo.Fashion.: Graduate Shows and Awards
Where? Berlin Fashion Week
Why designs by Philip Kofi Wagner matter?
Imagine a world without war.
Philip Kofi Wagner’s “Aftermath” collection arises from the utopian idea of a world in which there is no longer any war. What happens to the soft side (textiles) of the war, combat fatigues? Wagner builds a body of work with an appearance of using up the obsolete, no-longer-needed military uniforms. In his imagined “non-war” world, he has created military-esque looks to be worn as a reminder of wars gone by. I’ll take it a step further in this utopia. . if we are wearing these “Aftermath” ensembles, they were made from existing military uniforms and textiles, a perfect “paradise” of circular fashion.
Wagner’s focus is on the role of women in war, interpreting men’s war clothing in women’s fashion. Of course, the role of women in war depends on what century, country, and decade you’re referring to. But the look of “Aftermath” feels aspirational, a look forward. It presents modern military aesthetics using high-quality construction and detail, simply put, a bad-ass street look.
Wagner’s approach to “Aftermath”, interestingly, has your typical, straight forward order of process in designing a collection as he describes the selection of materials and colors. I wonder if his “orderly and expected” process was by design. He says, “fabrics and details typical of war clothing are used, which are mixed with modern fabrics, cuts and pieces of clothing. Military-related materials such as nylon, leather and gabardine are used, which are complemented with poplin, satin and jersey. The color card is neutral and starts with an off-white over beige-brown tones to black and is rounded off with a strong orange as an accent color.”
Although simple and straightforward, the approach garnered an effective and meaningful body of work.
“A Look at EDGE” curates a select few of Neo.Fashion.21 designers whose collections make socially relevant statements and offer storytelling through a fashion lens we don’t often see. Wagner’s message maybe wishful thinking, but a wish that would be made by many. Once again, we can consume fashion in a way that we go into a state of imagination and appreciation of fashion as objects that make us think, escape, or covet. An investment in thought, purpose, and composition went into “Aftermath”.
Feature Image: Philip Kofi Wagner, designer, Neo.Fashion. Graduate Show – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 | Photo by Robert Schlesinger/Getty Images for Neo.Fashion.