Eight days before their show, the ThreeASFOUR studio is frantic. Or, at least, that's what one can gather from over a Zoom screen, blurry figures of young-looking tailors and assistants running around, hastily preparing for a return to the routine for New York Fashion Week. Many of them are students, co-founder Adi Gil tells PAPER, from a learning outreach program dubbed Teach Stars at Parsons.
It's only fitting then that the full team came out together at the end of ThreeASFOUR's Spring 2022 show, some crying tears of joy and others beaming proudly. It feels strongly reflective of everyone's mindset as we seemingly reach the home-stretch of the pandemic.
On the first official day of NYFW, co-designers Gil, Gabi Asfour, and Angela Donhauser took over an industrial showroom at Spring Studios. The space acted almost as a carte blanche, waiting to be filled by the label's signature vibrantly-hued patterns and deconstructed designs.
The collection played heavily color, weaving together a narrative of optimism and a penchant for a higher power. ThreeASFOUR was inspired by kundalini, the untapped divine energy that flows among all human beings. For most, the ideal is most closely manifested through chakras — seven points found within the physical body. Each major point has a purpose, acting as portals to untap certain spiritual and emotional blockages.
Each chakra is associated with a specific color and shape, laying the foundation for the larger collection narrative. Starting with a deep red — associated with the root chakra — the garments transitioned across the rainbow spectrum to walk us through every energy point, ending in a rich violet hue symbolic of the crown chakra. Patterns emphasizing ThreeAsFour's ethos for sacred geometry were designed in creation with eco-friendly Kornit printing labs, relying on the use of computer generated 3-D fractals.
"We do feel more optimistic. I mean, the last collection we did was all black and white. So we felt we have a more colorful place now. Bright and uplifted," Gil said on creating the collection amid the ongoing COVID-19 criss. "It was not an easy time for the world to go through. But some good did come of it."
This season truly boils down to connection, physically and spiritually, in the shadow of the pandemic, co-founder Gabi Asfour explains. Whether it be through creating connections amid a partnership with fabric printer Kornit or exploring spirituality and family ties. It's a newfound alliance ThreeAsFour plans to expand upon in the coming seasons with a potential direct-to-consumer, the duo said, furthering the message of making fashion democratic to all.
"We feel like there is a certain aesthetic and geometry that is given to us by a higher creator. And if we follow that, we are here basically just to remind humanity that we are connected to nature and connected to each other no matter where you come from," Asfour explained of the brand's long-standing ethos seen throughout past collections. "No matter what race we are, which color we are, we are all together."
Although the label is known for their tech-infused silhouettes, the traditional elements of the natural of the world often peek through — the zen-infused footwear, reminiscent of Japanese geta sandals, ruched fabric resembling mushrooms and flowers, and fluorescent green circular appendages acting like lily pads to bounce off of. The marriage of Mother Nature along with the spirituality of human beings flows into the Hinduism practices of kundalini.
At first glance, the move might appear questionable. This isn't the first time spiritual and religious elements from other cultures have been taken and commodified for aesthetics on the bodies of models. The balance between homage and appropriation is often a blurry one within fashion's upper echelon, no matter how well-intentioned or researched an atelier may be.
Still, once must give ThreeASFOUR its flowers for accomplishing what they set out to do: human connection. In a world as fast-paced, pandemic or not, we're experiencing a return to sitting anxiously in showrooms together, huddled on benches in the dark. Bushy-tailed, bright, but extremely tired-eyed, and hopelessly glued to the beautiful clothes in front of us. And sometimes, that's all we can ask for.
Top photo via Getty/ Photos courtesy of ThreeASFOUR
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