We were on the ground at Paris Fashion Week 2020 covering the best of what fashion has to offer in the coming season. While the hype mostly centers around highly anticipated shows from revered fashion houses, away from the spotlight there’s always unexpected discoveries to be found. This season, one worthy of the list is Parisian footwear brand both and its debut capsule with contemporary workwear label Second/Layer.
both may only be in its third year, but the brand’s experimental rubber designs have already garnered a number of influential fans including Jaden Smith and Gigi Hadid. The creatives behind both choose to remain anonymous, but its early collaborations with Souvenir Official and Clergerie, and the fact that Virgil Abloh and Cyber69 played at its Paris Fashion Week 2017 party, suggests the brand is well respected among fashion’s heavyweights.
This year, the brand made its presence known with a slightly more subdued, although still buzzing, event at its showroom in Paris’ vibrant Le Marais district. The event kicked off at 7 p.m. and within half an hour the space was packed, the well-dressed crowd spilling out onto Rue de la Corderie. Throughout the evening, guests filtered in and out of the store, bottles of Tsing-tao in hand, to check out the FW20 "La Nuit" collection (highlights include glow in the dark rubber soles and "oxidized green" derby) and the collaborative apparel and footwear capsule with Second/Layer.
The team-up between both and Second/Layer is a surprising one. Based in Paris, both uses cutting-edge technologies to create contemporary footwear from natural rubber. Meanwhile, Second/Layer specializes in relaxed, tailored apparel rooted in founder Ants De Padovane, Jacob and Joshua Willis’ Southern Californian upbringing in surf and skate culture. But the two brands are longterm friends, and when both decided to create a capsule reimagining the uniforms worn by their factory workers, they tapped Padovane and the Willis’ brothers for their expertise.
“The whole idea was to make these uniforms in a contemporary context for the factory workers to actually use. So they [both] approached us, asked us to collaborate and to do our thing,” Padovane tells me at the event before he takes over the decks at the store. “With our design sensibility and how we approach tailoring, it worked with the contemporary workwear that we wanted to try to visualize.”
The capsule celebrates “modern-day teamwork”, putting what they state as the “crew” spirit at the very center. To that effect, the apparel collection melds Second/Layer’s sensibility for modern tailoring with both’s experimental spirit and heritage of craftsmanship. The designs stay close to the factory workers’ original uniforms, subtly altered in cut and brought to life in functional fabrics such as heavy Japanese cotton. Perhaps the logo best sums it up. “二” is the Chinese character for “two/both/second” and appears in various executions across the capsule.
Alongside apparel, the collection includes two footwear silhouettes, the Monk Strap GAO Creepers and the GAO Combat Boots. “We wanted to have something that was functional for the factory workers, which is Combat Boots. Then the Monk Strap Creeper is something that we would wear and that ties into the second layer of sensibility,” explains Padovane. Rather than go with the standard black colorway, both styles feature a polished and buffed cherry red leather upper and both's signature GAO rubber sole finished with a crepe texture.
Stay tuned for more info on the drop.