Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

This piece appears as part of “Not In Paris,” an online exhibition hosted and curated by Highsnobiety. Head here to see the full series.

Creative Director Daniel Lee’s debut Bottega Veneta collection pinned the Italian heritage label on the radar of the thirsty fashion cognoscenti around the world.

As the style sensibilities of the 2010s began to adjust to new consumer preferences — longevity over logos, craftsmanship over collabs — Lee focused on the house’s traditional codes of leather handiwork, iconic intrecciato weaves, and a conspicuous color palette of black, red, yellow, and turquoise.

The garments were photogenic but also designed to last, to be touched, and to endure the whiplash-inducing seasonality that had seen too many fashion brands phone it in for recent seasons. The newly vamped Bottega Veneta was at the helm of “new luxury” and spearheaded an aesthetic shift for luxury brands.

Now, we find ourselves in the middle of Pre-Fall, but the dawn of new luxury has been upended by a pandemic and global industry disruption. Accordingly, for this segment of “Not In Paris,” we’ve cherry-picked some of New York’s tenacious creatives who continue to keep the city turning on its axis as the thriving cultural mecca that it is — even during this transformative and uncertain season.

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Oyinda

UK musician who is now working on her Kerry James Marshall-inspired mixtape from Brooklyn

Nothing really changed for me [during lockdown] because I’m a homebody — and fortunately I built a studio in my flat — but I have more time now, so I’ve been a lot healthier and cooking more. I still can’t cut onions, though.

Basically, to sum it up, this is the most important year. We’re forced to reset, and forced to re-evaluate, and it truly is the year of vision. We’re all awake now.

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Morocco

Dancer, model, and head-turner

In this time of confinement, I think we’ve had more time to think deeply about what to do with the rest of our time on this planet. For me, I’ve grown so much with the self, and how to be with the self. 

I’m ever optimistic, and I know that this is a powerful year. I’m looking forward to the places we call home continuing to reveal their true colors. This space — America — is continuing to show itself and what it stands for and the morals within. Many people are starting to realize that America is built on the backs of slaves, on stolen land, and it’s not going to reach this beautiful high frequency point if it’s so demolished and deterred within its own soul. 

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Richie Shazam

Model, photographer, and self-styled “NYC Bollywood Princess”

Definitely the change of communication and interaction [has been positive during lockdown]. Checking in with your friends and your network, to check that everyone is doing well. People of color are disproportionately affected by Covid-19, so as a person of color and also as someone suffering from auto-immune realities, the lockdown really impacted the way I was engaging with the world. It brought on a lot of reflection but also accepting the status quo and knowing there isn’t anything I can do.

And a lot of self care! People seem less concentrated on professional accolades right now. 

I plan on [celebrating Pride by] using my platform to raise awareness on all of the issues that my community are undergoing right now. We will scream, we will shout, and we’ll get back to why Pride began historically. Life is very cyclical. We really have to understand what they went through for us to get where we are today.

That pain is very internalized, and it’s an ancestral tract that we can no longer ignore. Regardless of Pride month, I’m always very cautious of my expression. Just my existence causes strife in others, and I’m tired. I want to pave the way for younger generations, but also all generations — it doesn’t matter where you are in your life. I want you to see someone like myself exist and give you some help.

There’s an undertone of renaissance happening. It’s a reprogramming. 

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Wellington

Model, poet, and writer, who is currently writing a new novel

I saw this post, and it was saying the real pandemic was the ideals that most Americans have, and that feels very blatantly true. It warms my heart that people are infuriated by what’s going on, but yes, it’s upsetting that most of them haven’t realized until now. So that’s uplifting.

I’m hopeful but it’s also so scary… I just want to play the best part I can.

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Michael

Model, musician 

I think our time in quarantine has given us a second to step away from the regular system that we blindly follow every day. A lot of the stuff we were consuming doesn’t matter anymore. The “entertainment” isn’t as entertaining — people are actually thinking, “what are you gonna do with your life?”

I’m hopeful for humanity as a whole.

Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
Highsnobiety / Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Antwaun

Writer and author of the “The New Black Vanguard,” available for purchase here.

On a personal note, I’ve had a lot more time to process the creative things that I do and the way I engage with the world and other artists [during lockdown] — also, I am being very intentional with that engagement.

We have people who are suddenly waking to the fact the Black lives matter, but it’s not just that — we need solutions. It’s not enough to just say “Black Lives Matter,” you need to ask how do they matter; in your institutions, police forces, laws, etc. It’s been heartening to see that kind of awakening. 

I think with all the destruction that’s happened over the past few months in terms of lives, livelihoods, businesses, and the world we once knew — I think there’s an opportunity to look at that and think about what we want to save, what we want to reform, and what we want to remove entirely. I think there’s a privilege in having the opportunity to rewrite the world, and a privilege to be able to dream of another one. 

I hope we don’t cancel 2020 and forget it or pretend it never happened, but really take this moment to think about the systemic changes that we need in not just creative industries, but also our politics and our environment.

 

Are you also “Not In Paris?” Not to worry, you too can join in on the non-gathering with our exclusive set of merch. Shop the collection here.

  • Photographed by: Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve
  • Fashion by: Corey Stokes
  • All Fashion Provided by: Bottega Veneta
  • Casting: Ian David Monroe
  • Talent: Oyinda, Morocco, Wellington Grant, Antwaun Sargent, Richie Shazam, Michael Martin
  • Grooming: Takanori Shimura using M•A•C Cosmetics
  • Photography Assistant: Cesar Buitrago
Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor