Scrolling through my Instagram explore feed often uncovers a gem, this week that gem was Barbara Sanchez-Kane. Forever a fan of satirical fashion, I quickly found myself giggling audibly at her ‘condom bag’. Although the newest innovator in menswear has shown at V-FILES in SS17 and NYFWM for SS18, before digging deeper I was (embarrassingly) unaware of the power of her designs, each one telling the story to her intimate style. I caught up with Sanchez-Kane to further understand the ethos of her brand.
Now a fully fledged fashion designer, Mexican born Sanchez-Kane originally completed a degree from Mexican Universidad Anahuac in Industrial Engineering. Only later did she follow her talent and passion, completing a second degree in Fashion Design from Polimoda in Florence, directed by Danilo Venturi. She presented her graduate collection “Catch as a Catch can” during PITTI UOMO, influenced by her Mexican heritage and its iconic wrestling culture, and was featured in the ‘Vogue Talent Top Emerging Designers to Watch’ the same year. Graduating in 2015 she continued to flourish, going on to complete an internship with German designer Bernhard Willhelm in Los Angeles. After gaining experience working with the international company later in 2015, she launched her brand SANCHEZ-KANE and was invited to present her first collection “Courage of the Brave” during Los Angeles Fashion Week in Spring Summer 2016.
‘Catch as a Catch can’ Collection – Barbara Sanchez-Kane
After breaking the ice with her forward-thinking take on gender roles and product forms in SS16, Sanchez presented her politically rebellious SS17 collection “Citizen Sanchez-Kane” during FASHIONCLASH festival in 2016, an international and interdisciplinary fashion platform with a main focus on new generation of designers and artists.
Her collections are motivated by her Mexican heritage and deeply influenced by personal intrinsic emotional elements. SANCHEZ-KANE aims to encapsulate the space somewhere between reality and fantasy, defining itself as, “a Mexican clothing brand curated by emotional chaos.”
Whilst technically menswear focused, her “Citizen Sanchez-Kane” collection focuses on two main subjects; feminism in current Mexican society and the rise of Donald Trump.
“My mother is American and my father is Mexican, so I made a new citizen, Citizen Sanchez-Kane, that incorporates both cultures. The main concept is; what if EVE was born before ADAM?”
Fascinating to decode, Sanchez-Kane’s designs blur the lines between male and female form, embracing a new style of bold androgyny whilst emphasising the fragility of the human form and the power of clothing as a supporting element. Styles such as the full face bandana (below), represent the power of fashion garments and their use as a disguise for the wearer alongside influenced from Mexican culture.
Though harbouring severe cultural reference to catholic loyalty and belief, the pillow-head design (above) also creates a mock sincerity, defining the boredom of tradition. Meme-worthy, the image has been adopted to give “a new definition to bed-head”.
At NYFWM SS18, SANCHEZ-KANE displayed a rough and ready 3D menswear collection, blurring the lines between garment and sculpture, marrying modern art and fashion. Embracing the use of artistic form within the garments, a denim-heavy collection sees an acknowledgement of the importance of sustainability, with the use of plastic bottles and rope to personify political emotions.
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“the restrictions created by social norms lead to individuals hiding their feelings, this translated into pieces that were stuffed with fabric or pants that were dotted with three-dimensional boxes.”
Incorporating messages from her journal entries onto garments — one T-shirt read “Freelance Lover” — alongside heavily traditional Mexican references, including the wood beaded seat covers taxi drivers in the city frequently uses and the floral tapestries embellishing some items.
Recently praised for her “refreshing… innovative ideas… in a schedule that’s mainly dominated by commercial designs” at her recent NYFW show, it is clear Sanchez is a powerful character pioneering using real emotions through garment design to address and diminish current global issues, alongside relating to the everyday person with a portrayal of hopeless romanticism.
Facing issues such as gender, sustainability and race head-on portrays the designer’s powerfully influential stance as a new entrant to the menswear industry. Something potential rival designers are yet to use their platform to portray. Her embrace of portraying real art and human emotion via the beauty of high-quality fashion design proposes an innovative and fresh viewpoint on mens fashion. In doing so SANCHEZ-KANE creates a necessary catalyst for change in the form of male fashion, and we’re more than excited to watch her create worldwide waves in coming years.
Visit SANCHEZ-KANE’s beautiful website here.
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