What Dasha Selyanova is doing with her fashion has no precedent. The founder of ZDDZ is translating her own experience into fashion through her Help Yourself Spring Summer 2016 collection. Taking your own life as a starting point from one's collection makes me think of what Raf Simons has done with his eponymous brand. But, the voice of one designer is unique and Selyanova is creating a personal dialogue with fashion through this collection. Every collection she has done since she left the British Higher School of Art has had something to do with her present and her past. Her own breakdown was the main inspiration to address teen depression and anxiety and how people deal with it. So, she also looked at 70's American anti-depressant campaigns (with such headlines as sleep better live better, love your nervous system) and used it like sartorial slogans to embellish her streetwear wardrobe. She paired it with her brand logo and disruptive slogans (techno, insecurity, healthy, depression) that remind me of political art like soviet propaganda posters. She is definitely looking for answers. It's hard for teenagers to face their fears and artificial paradises seem to be a much easier choice. Drug, alcohol, sex and night-clubbing seem to be the perfect escape, they are so seductive, fulfilling the void inside us."I think the only person who can help you is you...it's about self acceptance and being confortable in your own skin", she said to Dazed Digital. Help Yourself is very ambivalent because it's dark, radical, sexy and irreverent and at the same time, this is a wardrobe of utility uniforms that are comfortable and definitely ready-to-wear! There is this idea to expose and to cover the body at the same time. Maybe, Selyanova is saying that people can feel sexy, free and comfortable, all at the same time! Fishnets, crop tops and shorty shorts are embodying this vibe just like the utility pieces such as the oversize parka, the military-like uniforms and the baggy trousers, aiming at protecting & giving a sense of security.
Creating a streetwear brand whose purpose is to talk about issues that matter is not an easy thing to do in fashion. Dasha Selyanova has succeeded in bringing up the matter of teen depression, that is sill ignored in Russia and not considered as a disease. Thanks Selyanova for reminding us that fashion with ideas is not dead. It may be hard to measure the impact of this collection but, as far as I am concerned, the message is definitely understood!
|Pics by Sasha Mademoiselle|
Words by Yann Sackville-West