After an exhausting week of events and parades to celebrate New York Fashion Week, it would take a war to end summer 2021 with designs that have ringing church bells in the wild. Streetwear fashion designer and DIY denim trendsetter Everard Best, or Ev Bravado, and Tela D’Amore, Founders and Creative Directors of Who Decides War walked the fall season with his Spring / Summer 2022 collection at the Museum fearless of sea, air and space.
Sunday, September 12, 2021, Intrepid Ship, upper deck: On the aircraft carrier were fighter jets and helicopters from the wars of yesteryear. Many New York City industry socialites were in attendance in the afternoon sun on the Hudson River. The guest list included fashion designer Kirby Jean-Raymond de Pyer Moss, NBA All-Star and two-time champion Kawhi Leonard, hip hop artists Joey Badass, Cordae and Brent Faiyaz, and aspiring star and actor Rome Flynn. from the TV show “How To Get Away With A Murder.” “I think in terms of the overall concept of broadcast in general, we wanted to make New York stand out. It was the most important thing for us, ”says D’Amore.
This season’s collection emphasizes duality. Bravado says that “some of the designs on the fully printed hoodie show the juxtaposition of abundance and nudity. A reflection of the world over the past 3-4 years – pre-COVID and post-COVID. A patchwork of stained glass is visible everywhere, and Bravado says he wants to become a “brand identifier.”
Bravado and D’Amore have a collaborative relationship that accurately reflects their upbringing. D’Amore’s grandfather’s involvement in WWII as a first lieutenant inspires military aesthetics. Bravado, on the other hand, was raised within the church. His father was a pastor and a tailor. Bravado’s father had a tailor shop where he would hone his skills. Finding a balance between the two keeps collections fresh and free from clichés. “I give things a militaristic look without being too intentional with the cover-up. It comes down to manufacturing – like ripstop, ”says Bravado. D’Amore continues, “we play with the materials present and certain colors. The further we get is a cream or an olive.
Bravado designs custom and unique denim styles over a few years ago. He relied on his skills learned from his father and his love of dressing to impress. Today, her brand is in its fourth collection of creations of denim creations, adorned with embroidery. After two appearances at Paris Fashion Week in previous years, the post-pandemic presentation of Who Decides War was indeed a homecoming where the brand first took to the streets before taking off.
A display of embellishments, adorned with finely cut embroidery and tops, and ample silhouettes were considerably the uniform of this war. Each garment referred to stained glass windows familiar with the church interiors on display in the embroidered rooms. Images of biblical proportions gave structure to selected garments like skirts and jackets, with recurring embroidery quilts, while other garments boasted cable knits and bold collars.
Stained glass embroidery was designed by Barriers NY, founded by a childhood friend from Bravado of Elmont, NY, applied to sweaters and denim. The figures represented Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, “immortalizing these foundational black figures that we grew up reading, learning and knowing their effects on us in culture,” Bravado mentions. These designs stood out on the chest and legs, and everywhere else on various garments worn by models flying over the catwalk. Some designs retained the ship’s military inspiration and the namesake Who Decides War.
Denim suits and oversized tops and bottoms are the dress languages of Who Decides War. A unique militant type harness that fits over the body like a vest intrigued viewers with its perceived functionality. Rap star and Brooklyn native of the GS9 label, Rowdy Rebel was the show’s star model, wearing a print of running waters on the side of a mountain spilling into cupped black hands.
The final dress of the show was a disguised orange parachute dress, tied with straps and ropes used to manipulate the device. The model wearing the dress stepped out in a round, puffy-shaped dress, which revealed that rippling mass of a dress, bright orange and flowing. “I love the parachute, the history and the creators, Arturo Castañeda and his team worked for over twelve hours on the dress for the show, completing it at 7:00 am this morning,” explains Téla D’Amore.
She continues, “I have really wanted to do a transition dress for a while. And it had to be done. This year has been the year I feel like – coming out of my quarantine and pandemic – it was really about thinking and redirecting. How would that really work in terms of design and transition. I was inspired by an article called “The Fallen Wedding Dress”. The story is about a veteran who brought home a used parachute in which his wife transformed into a wedding dress.
bravado and [life] D’Amore’s partner concluded by walking down the runway alongside the parachute dress, greeting the guests. Bravado would see their son and pick him up and take him backstage on the ship to captivate the crowd even more. D’Amore chases after him as the crowd roars with joy. Bravado defines his brand’s style as “Americana redefined”, while D’Amore would say the brand is “the highlight of everything we see”. Solidify the bond that creates a partnership based on their duality.