Fashion knows no boundaries.
MINI took the wraps off its new Capsule Collection in Florence, at Pitti Uomo, one of the leading fairs worldwide for men’s fashion and lifestyle. For the MINI FASHION—BEYOND NATIVE collection, the brand collaborates with five upcoming designers who riff off the tension that exists between their cultural roots and adopted homelands.
The brand has had the good fortune of being associated with theiconic car designed by the single-minded Alec Issigonis; an unprecedentedly compact, roomy, economical and useful device for post-war times that was so chic it was adopted by Swinging London.
“In the 1960s, the first MINI became a design icon, and this heritage inspired us to launch MINI FASHION. We really wanted to stick our necks out and join with creatives to bring something new and bold to the industry,” says Esther Bahne, Head of MINI Brand Strategy and Business Innovation.
This year’s Capsule Collection again attempts to capture the tenor of the times, especially the creativity of an increasingly cosmopolitan world criss-crossed by new waves of migrants.
“The idea of this collaboration is to give a platform to five creatives with different cultural backgrounds. They know how to take the unique energy engendered by fusing different cultural influences and translate it into exceptional products,” explains Sabine Ringel, Creative Lead at MINI FASHION. “The fact that these migrants have experienced and crossed national and cultural boundaries is the very reason for the richness and depth in their designs. And they have brought these perspectives with them into the collection.”
The collaboration with MINI has produced five fashion items for urbane traveller who enjoys roaming the liminal spaces where cultures and ways of life mix, mingle and birth the new. Designed by Diego Vanassibara, Edwina Hörl, Pronounce, Post-imperial and Perret Schaad, they combine traditional cultural cues inherent their countries of origin with contemporary elements from their adopted homes. BEYOND NATIVE is inspired by one of the most diverse living environments of all: the city, MINI’S natural habitat.
Diego Vanassibara shoe
Born in Brazil, Vanassibara lives and works in London. The peaceful rural region of Brazil where he grew up couldn’t be more different from his present-day home. Diego blends his early influences with the urban, architectural and historical stimuli of London to create a brand new take on men’s shoes. His design for the BEYOND NATIVE collection is based on the classic British derby style, an elegant leather shoe that he interprets with Brazilian lightness and creative nonchalance. The laser-cut hole pattern gives the black leather upper a light and airy feel. This contrasts with a chunky corrugated sole, which catches the eye with its novel mix of vulcanised rubber and fabric. The blue insole, meanwhile, adds an extra splash of colour in familiar MINI style.
edwina Hörl Coat
Austrian-born Edwina Hörl lives and works in Japan. The self-taught fashion designer addresses current social issues with her biannual collections and seeks to stir critical debate in the process. For the BEYOND NATIVE collection, she drew inspiration from the traditional Japanese haori coat and teamed up with MINI to style a comfortably tailored, unisex linen coat. By incorporating ingenious trench coat details, she has succeeded in completely changing the effect and function of this traditional item of clothing. Dyed pure indigo, the coat has a sumi-coated lining, which has various properties, some reputedly antiviral. A separate
bag can be attached to the belt or worn as a shoulder bag by using the belt as a strap. Both variations offer plenty of room for all urban travel essentials. Pronounce Hoodie Yushan Li and Jun Zhou, the two minds behind promising new label Pronounce, are originally from China but spend some of their time living and working in Italy. Their oversized hoodie features a smart, contemporary design combining silk, denim and jersey fabric. The mix of materials is intended to represent the fusion of different cultures within the garment. The comfortable cut and blend of materials make the hoodie ideal for wearing almost anywhere and to a variety of occasions.
Niyi Okuboyejo was born in Lagos, Nigeria but grew up in Texas. He now lives and works in Harlem, New York, where he creates the designs for his label Post-imperial, while maintaining close ties with his home country. The fabrics for his cheerful, colourful products are produced in Nigeria and dyed using the traditional adire technique before being sent to the US for finishing, such as the double-layer silk scarf designed for BEYOND NATIVE. It has been decorated with a typical image from Nigeria using the traditional dyeing technique of the Yoruba people. The indigo and azure-coloured scarf measures 50 x 183 cm, allowing it to be used in a variety of ways. Made of 100% silk.
Perret schaad Pouch
Tutia Schaad comes from Vietnam but now lives and works in Germany. She’s been running Berlin-based label Perret Schaad together with Johanna Perret since 2009. For the BEYOND NATIVE Capsule Collection, the designer duo have come up with an interpretation of the travel pouch—that indispensable accessory for every serious traveller—designed for day-to-day use in the city. The back is made of high-quality, burgundy-coloured leather, while the parachute silk front in a shade of coral has a white leather pocket sewn onto it with an embossed partner logo. The colour scheme is inspired by the landscape of Vietnam with its patchwork of earthy hues and vivid colour accents. The parachute silk is also a nod to Vietnam, where it is used for all kinds of purposes. A rugged cord fashioned on the sort of ropes used by Vietnamese fishermen encourages a firm hold, whether the pouch is carried by hand or attached to luggage.
BEYOND NATIVE is the third MINI FASHION Capsule Collection and will be available for purchase in limited numbers from this autumn.