Adrian Wu launched his 2011 resort collection last Wednesday. The collection was based on ideas around molecular compounds, Mayan conspiracy theories, and extraterrestrialism. With conspiracy comes controversy. Along with conversation on his resort collection came talks of philosophy, politics, and social norms.
"Nothing in this world is unnatural".
As an advocate for anti-institutions and anti-politics, Wu talked of how everything in society is a construction. Often asking who came up with social norms and why they are in place, he challenged ideas of what "fashion" is. He argued that fashion is a product of cultural institutions and that society creates what is deemed as beautiful. He went as far to say that clothing itself is a societal idea where in hotter seasons/climates, it is actually not necessary. Wu says that he is less concerned with fashion and more interested in personal style.
He says that when it comes down to dresses, realistically, they look better modeled by someone tall and a size 2. With this controversial statement, he reminds us that every body type is beautiful and that we should be dressing to flatter our body type- not based on what is "in fashion". This isn't limited to women though. If a man had the right silhouette, he would look great in a dress. What stops a man from wearing a dress is the concept of masculinity. Wu says that what differentiates men and women aren't necessarily biological differences, but ideas of masculinity/femininity. This relates to critiques he gets as a male designer of dresses. Critics question how Wu would know what women want to wear because of his gender. He responds by saying that he is a dress designer, not a womenswear designer. "Who says that women and men have to dress a certain way?"
He acknowledges that people come in all sorts of body types and that everyone is beautiful. Models should not be seen as being irrelevant to "real people"- they're just like any other person, but with a specific body type. Like any other job, modeling requires a certain said of criteria and qualifications (based on aesthetics). Wu says that people shouldn't feel the pressure to look a certain way if they're not models since there's no need to fit that set of criteria. This is why he looks for personal style rather than fitting the fashion mould- everyone should just do whatever makes them beautiful in their own way.
Finally, I asked Wu what he would be if he were an item of clothing. In relation to his discussion on masculinity and femininity and societal norms, he said that he would be a simple white shirt. After all, "a dress is just a really long shirt".
For more, visit ottawafashionweek.com/blog