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Bleached and Axed: How Sterling Ruby Made the First Collection to Encapsulate Our Moment

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Stores remain mostly closed, and your shopping wish list has undoubtedly shifted to something shorter and softer. But the Spring 2020 collections shown almost a year ago in Europe are arriving in online stores undeterred, like time travelers with a nonrefundable ticket. Some look like house guests we forgot we invited—“Oh, yes, here is that sheer top I’d imagined wearing with leather jeans to stay out all night with friends on the first warm weekend of spring!” So much for all that. Hope it looks nice tucked into sweatpants.

But other collections, like the dystopian first outing of Sterling Ruby’s S.R. STUDIO LA. CA collection, are uncanny oracles. It debuted on a balmy June evening at Pitti Uomo, but foretold a survivalist, basement-bound America, with its mix of grungy, dudelike sweaters and denim pieces doused in bleach or acid-washed; photo print dresses and smocks; and uniform-like prairie dresses. “S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. started to encompass this investigation of utilitarian dressing and American craft,” Ruby wrote by email last week, “looking at how certain silhouettes or elements of garments, quilts, and textiles were revolutionized through historical movements related to class and gender, especially in America.” It used the language of Americana—plaid, denim, DIY—not as the material for a manifest destiny fairytale, but to posit suburban sprawl as the defining American landscape, and its dull ennui as our defining spirit. “Uncanny now, yes,” Ruby wrote. “There was always an element of practical paranoia in this project, what the ‘doomsday preppers’ amass for the forthcoming emergency, things that you would need in order to drop out and survive. Throughout American history, there are a lot of parallels that relate an influx of making clothes and crafts, to war, recessions, and survival.”

Acid-wash on turbo at the S.R.STUDIO LA.CA. fashion show last June. Photo by Estrop/Getty Images.Estrop
Bleach-splattered overalls at the S.R.STUDIO LA.CA. fashion show during the Pitti Immagine Uomo last June. Photo by Estrop/Getty Images.Estrop

Ruby is best known as an artist, though he has an almost lifelong history with clothes: he learned to sew at the age of thirteen, growing up in Pennsylvania, and is a friend and collaborator of Raf Simons, with whom he designed a collection in 2014, and later worked with at Calvin Klein. The artist has long made uniforms for his workspace—“an exercise of cannibalizing my own output, to create a type of wearable camouflage for the studio,” he wrote—and toyed for years with producing and selling them, but his interest in clothes really evolved to an interest in fashion after his first project with Simons. “At that moment,” he told W after the collection, “I thought, Fuck being an artist—this is wonderful.” Still, he wrote, “I’ve always prioritized living with ideas, valuing the developmental period as essential to bringing anything into fruition. I could never operate on a fashion calendar,” because “sometimes things come to me pretty quick, but in reality nothing I make, whether it be a painting or a skirt, gets finished because I have a deadline.”

The prairie dress as the uniform of self-sufficiency. Photo by Estrop/Getty Images.Estrop
American ennui in a sweater and bleached-out pants. Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)Estrop

Now, his collection—which came, quite presciently, in an experimental mix of see-now-buy-now, couture-level special orders, and old-fashioned Spring 2020 deliverables—seems omniscient and eerily ubiquitous. He made clothing for breadmaking: the prairie dress, official frock of a universe where a simpler life is a more challenging one, demanding self-sufficiency against an interdependent world. And who could have predicted that bleach would become the elixir of our time: the disinfectant, the presidentially-endorsed poison, and the antidote to the follicularly-ambiguous masses?

Bleach Bottle, 2019. Cast Aluminum.Robert Wedemeyer / Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio

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Fashion & Style

Some of the hottest streetwear brands are making a George Floyd memorial tee

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Fear of God has pulled together some of the best names in streetwear and fashion for a T-shirt honoring George Floyd. Off-White, Pyer Moss, Union, Noah, Awake, Just Don, Denim Tears, and Melody Ehsani all lend their names to the tee, of which proceeds will go to the Gianna Floyd Fund.

The late Floyd’s initials appear on the front of the shirt, while all nine brand logos appear on the back. Available in black or white, the shirt will sell exclusively through Fear of God’s Instagram page for $100. It goes live at 9 a.m. PST Friday, June 5.

Fear of God

A limited run — While streetwear consumers often call for fundraising T-shirts to be made available for pre-order to maximize proceeds, COVID-19 has rendered that more difficult. We’ve seen it already with Supreme and Noah’s coronavirus relief tees, and that’s the case here as well. Jerry Lorenzo, Fear of God’s founder and designer, said in an Instagram comment that the T-shirts are “limited to the fabric availability we have.”

Streetwear at its best — At its roots, and too often forgotten, streetwear is about community. And you can’t talk about the culture surrounding it without acknowledging the contributions and support from the black community. That makes it encouraging, but not at all surprising to see so many brands step up to raise funds to organizations tied to Black Lives Matter, as well as the families of victims.

Online Ceramics

With T-shirts quick and easy to produce, several brands have produced their own as fundraisers, including Brain Dead and Blood Orange, Online Ceramics, Andrew, and Advisory Board Crystals. In addition to the Fear of God collaboration, Denim Tears also has its own tee with proceeds going to the Know Your Rights Camp.

Without product involved, Supreme announced it’ll donate $500,000 amongst Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Campaign Zero, and Black Futures Lab. A-Cold-Wall*, meanwhile, will award 10 grants for a total of £25,000 (~$31,500) to independent, back-owned companies.


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Banana Republic Donates $20M of Clothes to Americans in Need

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Over the past few months, we’ve spotlighted fashion businesses stepping up and taking action, whether it’s to help support Americans affected by the COVID-19 crisis or to stand behind the Black community with donations, acknowledging the racially unjust murder of George Floyd and the larger conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter. Brands with a large platform can and should acknowledge voices that are struggling in America, and Banana Republic — notably a part of parent company Gap Inc. — is striving to make a difference. BR teamed up with Delivering Good to donate more than $20 million of new clothing to those in need in order to help America get back to work. It’s a project they’re calling “Will Work For a Better Republic,” and it comes after months of actionable Instagram posts the brand has put up, all of which are meant to encourage positive thinking.

“By supporting Delivering Good [an organization that helps kids and families through tragedies], Banana Republic is helping men and women across the US, including those facing poverty, homelessness, and job loss. Among our network of more than 700 community partners, we will focus this donation on nonprofits with workforce training and re-entry programs and markets that have been especially affected by the current crises. This donation will have such a positive impact on men, women and disadvantaged young adults,” said Delivering Good President and CEO Lisa Gurwitch.

In effort to promote equality, Banana Republic has also come together with Gap Inc. brands Athleta, Gap, and Old Navy to donate $250,000 to the National Association For the Advancement of Colored People and EmbraceRace. Previously, Gap Inc. donated $1M to support underserved families in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, posting the news on Instagram on March 27. Banana Republic also came out with a reusable cotton face mask for customers to purchase, committing to a donation of $10 to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund for every mask sold. Scroll down to read about these initiatives directly from Banana Republic’s feed.


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Amazon Kimono Cardigan Lets You Layer While Staying Cool

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

While we couldn’t wait to finally put our snow boots and heavy down coats away, we have to admit that summer fashion — no matter how fun it can be — sometimes feels like it’s missing something. Layers! The thing about layers is they are not solely about keeping you warm. They can really add some serious style to an ensemble as well!

In summer, though, we’re often just wearing a tank top and shorts — and that’s it. Anything else on top would leave us sweaty, uncomfortable and unhappy. It might look cute for about two minutes after we put it on, but the heat often shows no mercy. That’s why we need to be smart with our layering and keep things breezy, lightweight and breathable with a piece like this kimono-style cardigan!

PINKMSTYLE Floral Print Kimono Loose Cardigan
Amazon

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Get the PINKMSTYLE Floral Print Kimono Loose Cardigan starting at just $10 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, June 4, 2020, but are subject to change.

This soft, semi-sheer cardigan has an open front, its flowy fabric draping beautifully and allowing cool air to travel in and out so it can graze your skin. It has a high-low hemline to further emphasize its waterfall-like quality, and loose three-quarter sleeves to drive the kimono inspiration home, all the while keeping you comfortable!

There are over 15 variations available of this cardi. You’ll find plenty of florals, fitting easily with piece’s style as it practically floats on your body like petals in the wind. There are also some leaf and animal print options too though, so if floral isn’t your thing, make sure to check the rest out!

PINKMSTYLE Floral Print Kimono Loose Cardigan
Amazon

See it!

Get the PINKMSTYLE Floral Print Kimono Loose Cardigan starting at just $10 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, June 4, 2020, but are subject to change.

You may have never thought of a cardigan as a go-to piece for hot summer days, but this one is definitely going to change your mind. In fact, you might even have to stop yourself from wearing it every single day — not that we think anyone would blame you!

Try layering it over a simple tank top and denim shorts, or even a cami with biker shorts and sneakers. It’s also very popular with reviewers as a cover-up for the beach and pool. Even more versatility is added when you throw a belt around your waist, should your outfit call for it. You don’t need Us to style you though. We already know this piece is going to look fabulous with just about anything hanging in your closet!

See it!

Get the PINKMSTYLE Floral Print Kimono Loose Cardigan starting at just $10 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, June 4, 2020, but are subject to change.

Not your style? Check out more from PINKMSTYLE here and shop all of Amazon’s Daily Deals here!

Check out more of our picks and deals here!

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