Look into the future, what do you see?
Nothing is for certain, but the one thing that I know is that I see some new fashion for you, for them, for me!
As fall shimmers on the horizon, ENG artistic director Muli explores with us the concepts behind “Afterglow – Revelation”, the Spring/Fall 2021 lookbook, which explores a question as old as humans themselves: who are you? And who do you want to be?
“The Rebel”, “the Poison”, “the Pirate” or “the Priest”… Who are these archetypes to you?
The models invited for this shoot are all my friends in real life. The generation of this series of characters is based on their personalities and thoughts. So it's fair to say that all the characters are based on themselves, or the characters they remind me of. Taking Charity Ssb, a musician, for example, in our daily conversations and his lyrics, I can feel that he is a person who has a deeper perception and understanding of emotions than others and he has a different perspective of the senses along with diverse thoughts of order in the world and thus he is “the Priest”.
The first thought that comes to mind when discovering these cards is the idea of tarot, particularly since fashion too has its “high priestesses”, its “oracles” and other mysterious figures who “make it happen”. Is that what you intended?
The inspiration for the lookbook wasn't actually tarot cards, but rather souvenir cards of anime and game characters that I had collected as a kid. For example, the well-known Dragonball and Digimon. In China, when we were young, we also collected cards of heroes from Heroes of the Marshes, which is a famous martial arts novel that all Chinese people know. I can't help but wonder, if life were a game where you could choose your identity and skills, and if the world were to end, what role would you play in the battle? That's why this shoot is happening. It's really a fantasy of an apocalyptic character.
Between the pandemic and climate emergency, it feels like a potent moment to be considering this, but dark thoughts to have.
There are a variety of movies that predict about the judgement day. Such as natural disasters, AI battles and the like. But I'm more curious about what it is going to look like after all this. Skyscrapers crash, broken branches are everywhere, and a cloud of dust mingles with the noise of sirens. There will be nothing but desolation in the ears of the living. Just then, the setting sun shines through the dark clouds, with the afterglow of the sun filling the earth, and the golden light makes everything seem so unreal. Does the coming darkness still reveal hope? If this day does come, all the creatures who can see the last touch of the sunset will have thousands of descriptions. What I want to discuss is the emotions and consciousness of individuals in this overlapping alternation of birth and death, brightness and darkness.
What’s your hope for the coming season?
I wonder if the frequency of Fashion Week, which is four times a year, can reduce. It could be a combination of men's and women's clothing, or it could integrate seasons. This consideration is from the perspective of environmental protection. Every time I enter a showroom during fashion week, I will notice the overwhelming amount of new products, and I think people really cannot buy so many clothes in a year. The idea of gender-free clothes is becoming more prominent and appreciated. The general hope for the coming seasons is that less is more.
Between worlds being created in spaces that created through blockchain or Balenciaga exploring their identity in a video game format during the pandemic, why is the idea of life as a game or the virtual world becoming a new frontier to explore becoming more and more important?
Virtual worlds are getting increasingly authentic, aren't they? In an environment where you are not responsible for your actions, you can truly "do" anything you want. When the game has social interactions and functionalities that mirror to the real world, it changes from a virtual world to an altered “reality”. We explore different possibilities in the new environment.
Shouldn’t we fear losing our connection to each other and the world?
So the game is a testing ground of the real world so to speak. But the real difference between the game world and the real world is that in the game world, there is a restart button where you can be reborn. So ultimately, the game contains more possibilities and is open to interpretation.
Do you think the idea of “being anyone you want” and building your own character is the real trend of the decade?
I don’t think it's a trend. Building your identity is part of being human, to build your own character that's true to yourself.
So a strong identity is essential for individuals, but also for organizations… and stores, right?
Indeed, from the first day we started ENG, I have been thinking about who ENG would be if it were a person, how different it would be from others, what it would like, what it wouldn’t like, what music it would listen to, where it would like to hang around, what clothes it would have in the wardrobe… Whoever you are in the industry, you should know how to convey the ideas, attitude, and brand values in a way that will resonate emotionally with your audience. For retailers or designers, not only should customers pay for your design, they should also care and stand by the same values as you. It is with these considerations in mind that everything we are executing now aims to express ENG's character. That is why ENG's consumers currently have a strong connection with us. They are more like our friends.
Creative: ENG Team
Styling: Y1N Y1N
Make Up: Freya
Hair: Tian You