The fashion industry is in a state of flux right now that’s so rapid and unpredictable, there’s little point in trying to predict its future. Or, for that matter, any future. Our everyday visual world—to which fashion is perhaps the single biggest and most personal contributor to—has been disrupted by the pace and speed of the internet so much that we’re only now beginning to feel like we’re catching up. No wonder 032c Magazine recently labeled the current times as one 'big, flat now'. The zeitgeist, it seems, is of life imitating our Instagram feed.
Hiroshi Fujiwara, however, is a man who has made knowing what the zeitgeist is into an art form. So much so, he’s arguably able to craft it. Working as a creative director through his agency Fragment, Fujiwara has spent the past decade and more subtly disrupting fashion labels’ output and, in turn, the wider industry through his collaborations. Beginning work in the ‘80s (when he also acted as a mentor to Jun Takahashi and NIGO) and with his brand Good Enough that he established in ‘89, Fujiwara essentially pioneered today’s retail model of teasing, drip feeding, and eventually 'dropping' releases into the market. Given that the fashion world is now beholden to this model, the 'godfather of streetwear' is probably a bit of an understatement. So who better for Moncler to choose for the first release of its Genius project than the Godfather himself?
The more you read into the Genius project, the more clever the whole project seems. By challenging the established model of seasonal fashion shows (followed, normally, a whole 12 months later by that collections’ release), Genius is itself an experimentation into what makes up the zeitgeist and an 'it’ product of the now. With a nod to the power of the internet, to the 'gram, and the speed and ease of online shopping, Moncler will release a series of eight collections over the coming months each made with different Geniuses.
The 7 MONCLER FRAGMENT HIROSHI FUJIWARA collection (to give it its full name) debuted in Florence during the industry tradeshow Pitti Uomo. The next day, the entire collection was made available online direct from moncler.com and their stores worldwide.
Subtitled 'Backstage', the collection played off Fujiwara’s penchant for punk and grunge aesthetic references. Composed primarily of outerwear including car coats, varsity, and coach jackets, as well as staple hoodies and sweats, the collection was core 'streetwear' displayed in robust industrial flight cases (i.e. the kind you get littered backstage at any gig or rave). These flanked a huge stage and encircled the vast inner courtyard of Florence’s dramatic Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the former Renaissance-era prison. The collection united Fujiwara’s distinct and esoteric influences with that of Moncler’s expertise and craftsmanship, as well as the French-Italian former ski brand's sense of drama and luxe.
“I want to bring music and the fashion world closer together,” explained Fujiwara of the inspiration behind the collection. “Music and fashion used to be more closely linked, but now I feel it’s less so. This collection harks back to that."
“It’s not just a collaboration,” added Fujiwara. “I think it’s just a different way of doing things. Moncler is trying something new. Maybe we’re all still looking for what is the best way to do things but, yeah, we’re changing.”
The MONCLER FRAGMENT HIROSHI FUJIWARA “Backstage” collection is available online now via Moncler.com and in all Moncler boutiques worldwide. Between June 14 and 18, the collection will be available exclusively on MATCHESFASHION.com and from June 19 in select wholesale networks worldwide.