runway New York

Etxeberria – Two Spirit Approach to Fashion

Challenging the boundaries of menswear is a worthy and noble pursuit, and the "Poets in NY" collection by Basque designer Roberto Lopez Etxeberria takes menswear by its stodgy shoulders and shakes it into modernity. And in my book, that's PFC (Pretty Fuckin' Cool). The collection mirrors society's increasing awareness of blurred gender identification, as well as disposing of many the traditional constraints of menswear.The element of androgyny, itself a limitless frontier, represents a Two Spirit approach to fashion, as I like to call it - one that acknowledges both the masculine and feminine qualities that we all possess. Etxeberria acknowledges this by mixing in a few female models in the men's suits, and gender non-specific styles that spark the imagination.Though some of the proportions are a little hard to swallow - does anybody really want to wear something that makes the waist or hips look bigger? - it may be simply that we are adapting to changes and modernization of the silhouettes that Etxeberria presents. Is there a man out there who wants to

wear a black suit with chinchilla trim? Oh yes. Me, for one. Do I want it to make the waistline look visibly wider? Well, maybe I'll have just have to adjust to that idea (I am old, after all, but that doesn't mean I'm hopelessly marooned in the past).Then there's the question of Etxeberria's take on the vintage motorcycle pants. The style, similar to jodhpurs, asks us to try to consider a wider silhouette across the hips and thighs. Hmmm... just like jodhpurs, it is a style that perhaps looks better on someone rather than yourself, but is that because we are still thickly mired in the tried-and-true older silhouettes? Certainly Etxeberria is not the first to ask these questions by any means, but bringing up these questions as often as possible is fine with me. We have to think outside the box - waaay outside the box that the clothes come in. Every major change to the fashionable silhouette has been greeted by derision and skepticism throughout history. That places Etxeberria in the role of a revolutionary, whether he thinks of himself that way or not.

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Photography by: ETXEBERRIA