There's no question of good taste and bad taste when people are wearing a uniform because that's the role of it. Miuccia Prada said in the latest issue of System Magazine that she loves creating them because they demand not much creativity. It's as easy as ABC ! I don't know about my Dearest Miuccia but as far as I'm concerned, I find there is something sexy about men wearing uniforms, don't you think ? Uniforms are perfect for men because they will be well-dressed for any occasion. A majority of designers master that concept when creating for men, making sure to deliver what men want, making sure these uniforms are comfortable while having a bit of vision and keeping in mind that men don't like to be dressed-up. However, that's not the case for all menswear designers. Actually there are no rules! I love to be dressed-up and I sometimes love to be "boring". Designers know they have to satisfy the ones who love to be all spruced up, the others who love to be crazy and the third ones who love to play & mix-up everything. Designers know they have to speak to the largest audience, so they obviously have to make sure the message will be understood. Titanium brands like Prada has to face this burning issue, but it's not the case for every brand. It depends on the size of the market.
Xander Zhou is definitely reaching a bigger audience season after season. You can measure the level of coolness of a brand not necessarily according to the number of followers it has on the social media [even if it's something you have to take in consideration] but with the number of people wearing it on the streets, meaning the ones who are really investing in your brand and who are buying the clothes. The number of followers is important but unfortunately not all of them are customers.
His Autumn-Winter 2017 collection called 24 Hour Rave Line is playing with the idea of men in uniforms and their relationship to them. This wardrobe is obviously for the boys who like to dress-up! The Chinese-born designer working in London looked up to movies like Matrix or to a kind of Sci-Fi Fashion for his inspiration, portraying guys who, in his own words, "were in a mission carrying a secret weapon!" These hot dressed-up boys wearing twisted beautiful uniforms are like weapons of massive destruction/seduction. I could feel their power of attraction when I discovered the collection yesterday. I would definitely love to wear the inspired-suited silhouettes composed of an oversize tailored coat, a cropped vest, a long striped shirt with a tie and a slim-cropped trousers. If there were one single look to remember in this collection that would be this one. This outfit sums up quite well the way men are approaching uniforms. It's a beautiful concession between simplicity, extravagance and sophistication. It has a lot of creativity and it's also easy-to-wear. That's my definition of style! Of course, Xander Zhou is designing for a niche; his parody of uniform would/could not reach the mass. His collections are not for every man but, lovers of Xander Zhou's work will be beyond satisfied and will definitely buy this great collection!
Pictures from the NowFashion website
Words by Yann Sackville-West