For the spring-summer season of 2019 we’re inviting you on a journey back to vintage punk fashion memory lane. Emerging in the limelight as we speak is the R13 too-cool for school sophisticated modern punk, who will dominate street wear with her gender-ambiguous and effortlessly cool silhouette. Safe to say you’ll want to know what all the fuss is about and we’re here to guide you.
By Diana Colcer
“When you’re young things have a much deeper impact on you. In the ’80s and the ’90s, I was really young and I was soaking everything in. It always stays with me, that feeling and sensibility, and it’s also sort of timeless. Punk and grunge in different ways still exist in our culture”, said R13 designer Chris Leba, back in 2016 when he officially stepped into the spotlight as the creative mind behind the notoriously forever young spirited fashion brand. His R13 label, which he’d anonymously ran since 2009, had already made an lasting impression — fashion girls all over the world gravitated towards its perfectly distressed denim garments almost instantly and there already was a great amount of hysteria on social platforms as well. But at that particular time, in 2016, it was also quite clear that, as the designer decided to reveal himself after leaving a full-time job at Ralph Lauren, his grunge girl, the rebellious punk that came across as loud and unapologetic in all his previous R13 collections was finally all grown up. There was a clean-cut modern sophistication emerging form his new street wear silhouettes, as his deconstructed designs blended together in perfect proportions. Yes, Chris Leba was finally ready to take street style matters into his own hands and walk R13 into adulthood.
Fast forward to last year, when R13 launched its Resort 2019 collection of ripped denim and flannel shirting — the looks of which you can observe in the images accompanying this article. Chris Leba’s nostalgia of the nineties fashion is undeniable, as well as his longtime obsession with paying a fashion homage to rock legends. We’ve seen him incorporating familiar faces and album covers by the likes of The Ramones and David Bowie, but now, for this particular collection, he choses to focus on 1970s punk rocker Patti Smith and her iconic tomboy style, offering his signature twists on classic punk garments. There is a mood of easy sexiness and effortless coolness, and not much deviation from his usual rock-ish and punk-ish vibes, but the main achievement here is an ingenious play on proportions that resulted in gender-ambiguous undertones. “She’s trying but she’s not trying”, explained the designer, but i think it’s only fair to say that these seemingly laid back looks, that allow traditional outwear blazers and jackets to be tucked in and reworked with slow-long duality, took quite a significant amount of tailoring. The R13 Resort 2019 collection offers some interesting updates — like the distressing treatment of denim, inspired by a barbwire fence — and, course, some brand signatures — like the edgy crossover pants, which were originally made in denim, but now come cut in washable wool, in trousers and shorts. There are also colourful T-shirts and leather jackets with hardware accents, but all throughout this awesome street wear collection we are never let to forget that this is a serious rock solid denim brand at heart.
Inspired by the rebellious spirit of America and offering an unwavering vintage authenticity as well as avant-garde quality tailoring and fresh street style silhouettes, R13 maybe new on your fashion short list, but we are confident that it is here to stay and gradually garner legions of fans who want to be forever young at heart and just as effortlessly cool.