C2H4 | SS20

by Remi Akande


Fashion June 12, 2019

Muted tones and looks took the spotlight on Day 2 of LFWM.

Los Angeles based fashion house C2H4 asked us HOW does fashion navigate a post-human era? With their the SS20 collection showcased at The Truman Brewer.  A playfully abstract show, the collection divides itself into three categories, inspired by a fictional dystopian social hierarchy, moving from the Underclass, to HDS Staff, to Elite Class. Presenting a letter, promising the protection of data and memory in this fictional world, C2H4 doesn’t stop at creating meaningful clothing, surpassing this to create its own society and political sphere. This new earth erases death entirely, and instead a memory wipe becomes the new definition of dying.

The show notes read:

“The universe grows every day and thread of accidental data loss by any group anywhere can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all or no one is secure. As the one and only official human data division in Post Human Era, C2H4® Human Data Storage values INDIVIDUAL DATA above anything else, especially your MEMORY and TIME, as they activate the performance of all life forms to acquire, organise, maintain and retrieve your exclusive physical consciousness and life expectancy, and most critically, to fulfil your societal roles.”

Keeping in tune with its utilitarian and punk-inspired ethos, for SS20 C2H4 unveiled a range of layered looks fit for the “Post Human Era.” Raincoats and windbreakers embellished with 3M detailing, zipper closures and a multitude of pockets walked down the runway paired with technical pants boasting multiple straps.

C2H4 designer, Yixi Chen, stuck to what she knows best and presented a collection of futuristic performance wear pieces like seasons past. Chen has created a new narrative around these pieces and split her collection into three story lines, which she said were “a commentary on class-based societies.”

A muted, apocalyptic colour palette was projected onto swathes of futuristic layers, featuring utilitarian patchwork, plastic belt buckles and retro Terminator-vibes ID cards.

A dusting of glitter on models cheeks in linear formations plus wet-look hair, gave the appearance of chip-and-pinned clones storming the catwalk.

Moving onto the HDS Staff, described as a group “oppressive, optimistic, steadily moving forward” the clothes become more structured, with elements of tailoring introduced and some use of neon.

The third act, Elite Class, constituted “the higher authorities of the planet”, the clothes take on a more relaxed mood, while keeping within a more structured silhouette to convey a sense power.

The show began with the first round of looks — distressed hoodies and patchwork puffers — referenced the lower class. Silhouettes tightened up and sportswear pieces such as logo pullover jackets and straight-leg nylon trackpants showed the uniformity of the working class. A crisp white après-ski wear outfit, which felt heavy for a spring collection, led the final round of looks of Chen’s elite class.

There were plenty of commercially desirable pieces in the lineup of waterproof jackets, puffer jackets and rip-stop nylon trackpants that would be sure to please the streetwear crowd, as proven by some showgoers who were already wearing full C2H4 look.

Chen is most innovative, however, when it comes to materials. She presented a black puffer jacket that reflected duochrome purple and green under the spotlight, which had audience members snapping away.

Taking inspiration from a range of post-apocalyptic film and literature, the space becomes almost movie set like in its theatricality and suspensive music. Shifting through the classes, the tone changes completely. The “underclass” is comprised of loose-fitting silhouettes, layered pieces, and distressed details, fitting within a monochrome palette to convey a sense of adversity.

Elsewhere a cozy knit scarf was draped over a salmon pink hoodie and matching sweatpants, helping to elevate the everyday outfit.

With outerwear clearly being spotlighted in the collection, the iridescent parka that turns from purple to green is a clear winner. As a whole, the range’s palette is predominantly comprised of muted grey, white and black tones with the exception of a few pops of pink and blue here and there. Additionally, the looks were paired with Nike Air Max 90s, however it’s unclear yet if they are an official collab with C2H4.

Already gracing the limbs of Instagram’s it-list, theLA-based imprint has already made a name for itself with its signature “combine and reconstruct” brand DNA, with an expanding fanbase, and now, its latest showing at London Fashion Week Men’s SS20 has certainly upped the ante.

The future is bright. And if founder of C2H4, Yixi Chen has anything to do with it, the future is also utilitarian, with touches of glitter. Expect the unexpected.


 Remi Akande | Writer | @remiakande

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