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Show Report: KidSuper A/W 24

by Joshua Graham on 22 January 2024

Fashion features editor Joshua Graham reports on KidSuper A/W 24.

Fashion features editor Joshua Graham reports on KidSuper A/W 24.

I’m always sceptical of Caucasians whose livelihood is reliant on their vicinity to black culture. Maybe it’s the disproportionate amount of black talent that isn’t afforded the same platform and funding as their white counterparts — systemic racism is to blame — or being alive for Justin Timberlake’s early 00s identity crisis complete with cornrows, (ref: Michele Williams reading this line from Britney Spears’ best-selling memoir). So, maybe it isn't surprising that Colme Dillane's latest effort for KidSuper had me raising an eyebrow.

Restraint isn't a word one associates with KidSuper. Sure, this wasn't a full-blown theatre show like last season, nor was it a star-studded comedy hour hosted by the always hilarious Tyra Banks. Still, it was anything but restrained. There was the over-the-top set (chunky threads of wool hanging above the runway like a forest of flaccid ghostly anemone), live violinists seated front row (only to be forced to stand when it became clear too many 'VIPs' forgot to RSVP), and even an interpretive dance opening the spectacle that I'm still not sure had any meaning besides ticking off all the elements of a parody fashion show.

KidSuper A/W 24

The collection was dubbed 'String Theory' as a nod to Einstein's theory of relativity and Dillane's alleged qualifications as a mathematician. 'The KidSuper world works in multiple dimensions. KidSuper believes that everything is connected, theoretically explainable but not obvious at first glance', read the show notes. What was glaringly obvious with the show is how it built off Dillane's guest collection for Louis Vuitton last year. That is, Abloh-esque square-shouldered tailoring, and a bold use of colour and print. For KidSuper, clothes are the canvas, literally splashed with the artist/designer's work.

Amongst the sea of ‘look-at-me’s’, there was one face that soured the already troubling experience beyond measure. Sat front and centre was known enactor of violence Chris Brown. A lit rollie in hand, no one bat an eye at the one-time 'King of R&B' whose now better known for domestic battery.

Dillane's hip-hop inspiration was abound in this collection. Quilted puffer jackets (created in collaboration with Canada Goose) were paired with 90s light wash denim and workwear boots not dissimilar to Timberlands. Streetwear elements, including baseball caps and balaclavas, topped off nearly every other look. There were also fur coats reminiscent of Sean John, worn by football superstar Ronaldinho Gaucho and producer Jim Jones, who had the crowd in a frenzy when they stepped on the runway.

KidSuper A/W 24

But is there anything inherently wrong about this young white designer pulling from hip-hop aside from his connection to this world leaving me feeling cynical? Susan Scafidi, author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, explains cultural appropriation raises questions about ownership and commodification, where dominant cultures exploit aspects of marginalised cultures for their own gain. With every jacket Dillane paints a black body on, I can only think of the black creatives who haven't been afforded the same opportunity. A reminder of the social cache white mediocrity continues to hold over us.

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