When it comes to polarizing pieces that confront the opposite sex, the main offenders in my wardrobe are surprising. Two Junya Watanabe T-shirts, one red, one navy, both varsity-inspired, featuring the crests of two fictional sports clubs. The offending part? They both feature subtle shoulder pads, which means when left to dry after washing, they do so slower than anything else. When my boyfriend is on chores – in his meditative bending phase, determined to make sure a whole clean wash cycle gets into our cabinets at once – he will often question, desperately, the necessity of the inner workings of my team. your. “Obviously the shoulder pads are subtle symbols of American football jersey protective gear,” I retort, rolling my eyes.
My obsession with the varsity t-shirt – sporting a fictitious team number, collegiate motif or satirical slogan and accented with stripes or v-neck detailing – also started at home, a very satisfying distance from my school gym, constantly watching Friends reruns in adolescence. Cue Rachel Green, pure ’90s knockout, in a variety of varsity-inspired pieces: Knicks basketball sweaters, boxing club tees paired with long-sleeve layers and a backwards cap, mixed numbered jerseys and an ever-attractive baseball t-shirt, featuring the club’s fictitious name “Girls”. The only other style icon who could rival Rachel’s soft spot for sports clubs? Princess Diana famous fan in a varsity sweatshirt or American football varsity jacket.
Luckily for my wardrobe – less so for future domestic bliss – the varsity tee became a winning piece on the Fall/Winter 2022 catwalks, where brands such as Givenchy and Off-White served up spliced, cut-in shapes. dice and shortened, sporting collegiate colors and gothic typography. Matthew Williams of Givenchy was inspired by the codes of luxury sportswear that defined his own creative journey and those of his predecessor at the French house, Riccardo Tisci. The brand’s current Spring/Summer 2022 collection includes a basketball-meets-jack-o-lantern bag designed by New York-based artist Josh Smith, and for Fall/Winter 2022, crudely varsity tees. sheared, embroidered with the “Givenchy” brand and star motifs.
Before his death in November 2021, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh designed an entire haute couture collection, which was posthumously shown during the brand’s Fall/Winter 2022 show during Paris Fashion Week in February. The pieces riffed on Abloh’s elevation and reinterpretation of archetypal and ubiquitous silhouettes, referencing the skateboarder, the bride, the prom belle. Of particular note? Cindy Crawford in a black-tie-meet-basketball evening outfit paired with ubiquitous sportswear basics: a waterfall tulle skirt, varsity tee, and cropped tuxedo jacket.
Bedford, New York-based Conner Ives, based in London, has an ongoing WhatsApp conversation with his studio team, focusing on the most humorous or unusual slogans they come across on T-shirts when looking at them. buy from used warehouses in Essex or Sheffield. “A lot of that stock actually comes from the United States,” Ives says. “I’ll find a T-shirt from a small liberal arts college in Vermont, which a friend of mine attended, with probably a 3,000-person campus.”
Ives’ fledgling American exploration brand put the t-shirt center stage, and the brand’s patchwork tees are a cult item worn by Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and the Haim sisters. The designer’s love for the wardrobe must-have began during his teenage years raiding his dad’s closet. “My parents’ fundamentals and their quality ideals really impacted my professional trajectory,” he says. “My dad had an amazing collection of t-shirts he’d worn since college that had been worn and loved,” Ives says. For the designer’s first physical Fall/Winter 2022 show, upcycled varsity tees were accented with soft ruffles and pieced together like flashing crop tops, or flipped like macrame-accented miniskirts. “Cashmere is beautiful, but there’s no finer fabric than a broken T-shirt,” Ives says.
Ives finds humor in t-shirts with statements that are recontextualized by wearing them, something that resonates with the British spirit. vogueHenrik Lischke, trade writer. He has a collection of kids’ varsity t-shirts, picked up from tourist shops, which he will regularly pair with street clothes. “Okay, I may not be the biggest Mets fan – or baseball – but I bought the team logo t-shirt on a trip to New York and it always reminds me of that,” he says. “Every time I clean out my wardrobe, the one thing I will forever cling to is my souvenir t-shirts – they age better than anything else. One day they will be vintage”.
Commission’s Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong – three Asian-born New York designers whose 2018-founded label first took inspiration from their parents’ wardrobes, have evolved to interpret American style codes from a non-native perspective. For Fall/Winter 2022, the brand infused its deliberately mundane, everyday and corporate silhouettes with iconic silhouettes from the United States: western shirts, cowboy boots, thick Wrangler belt loops, work pants. During their research phase, the trio spent time with their closest Asian American friends and learned about their different cultural experiences, living in New York, California and even on a ranch in Oklahoma.
“Fall/Winter 2022 feels like a real mix because we’re referencing things deemed ‘representative’ of Americana, like activewear, denim, American West culture, motocross -country, but adding a bit of Ivy League attire to it, gothic and even a slight touch of Harajuku – more like an electric form of expression,” the designers explain. The collection features a collection of “touristy” t-shirts , promoting New York and California, sporting a deconstructed star motif that the trio associates with American iconography.”We think it’s a fun challenge, as non-American designers based in the United States United, to see their ‘classics’ through our own lens,” they say. There’s no shoulder pad in sight either.