The work of Senegalese artist Issa Samb was the starting point for Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki’s spring collection. It was Samb’s installation work specifically that inspired Suzuki, particularly that of a wooden plank covered in found objects, most of them fabric.
How this piece informed the collection can be seen through the ambitious, and sometimes overwhelming, combination of patterns and prints. In paisleys, patchworks, and embroidered motifs, plus a classic green camo (a first for the brand; during a preview a member of the team explained that they had shied away from it in the past as it felt too predictable), the workwear-inspired utilitarian silhouettes created a stimulating visual story similar to that of Samb’s installation.
A run of different sashiko-stitched (the traditional Japanese embroidery technique) fabrics was one of the collection’s most compelling groups. The shorts, bombers, jackets, and pants cut in the patch-worked fabric decorated with colorful naive motifs are the kinds of things that differentiate Engineered garments from its peers.
But as eye-catching as the prints are, especially the florals made in collaboration with Manabu Gaku Inada, it’s in the solid-color linens, crepes, and cotton poplins where Suzuki’s distinct cutting stands out. Most believable was the range of trousers, from straightforward cargos to classic tailored slacks and a run of dropped-crotch pants. The most noteworthy were a pair of extra-wide pleated bontan pants, inspired by the oversized trousers Japanese gangsters used to wear in the ’80s.
What makes Engineered Garments interesting as a proposal is that its pieces stand out even more as part of a full look. They feel made to work with each other, idiosyncratic proportions in complicity.