"I never considered 032c to be just a magazine," explained Jörg Koch after 032c's debut show at Pitti Uomo in Florence. In the smartphone era, a time where cultural boundaries are collapsing all around us, it seems that the most successful creatives are the ones who jump from discipline to discipline without any care for what they should or shouldn't be doing (just look at Kanye and Virgil).
"The whole idea of 032c was that it's not just a printed matter thing. There's an aspirational aspect to 032c that you can now translate into clothing." After years of pioneering art and fashion journalism, 032c's influence recently hit the big time thanks to its highly successful line of merch, designed by Koch's wife, Maria, when the mag-cum-brand was invited to show at Pitti Uomo FW18. A sentiment echoed by our inclusion of 032c in our 2017 nominees of the Best Breakthrough Brands.
032c epitomizes that 21st-century idea of cultural remixing. The Berlin publication will regularly clash pop culture icons (Frank Ocean is on their latest cover) with high-brow intellectualism (say, an essay on brutalist architecture) and then, without breaking a sweat, drop a line of trend-savvy merch while simultaneously acting as the production arm for Justin O'Shea's SSS World Corp label. 032c has done whatever the hell it wants, barging over walls and boundaries, just like Koch's crew of Berliners barged their way through their audience as part of their performance-based presentation at Pitti Uomo.
As spoken word poetry echoed through the Palazzo, the 032c crew, including Koch's children, stomped around in ready-to-wear utility garb inspired by the Black Mountain College, a 20th-century hotbed of free-loving intellectuals. Rugged and unimposing, it's exactly the sort of thing you'd imagine luring those who are into both Proust and YEEZYs, while genuine leather pajamas and a smattering of eveningwear hinted at the sort of escapades Koch described going down after dark at the College.
Of course, the real money-makers will be the branded sweats, tees and caps, although a 032c-branded belt buckle was also on offer for the more adventurous fans out there.
As a pole dancer spun around in the middle of a Florentine palace and Justin O'Shea made gin tonics for guests, you got the impression that, while 032c's clothing veered toward the mundane, the presentation — and the people behind it — are anything but.
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