Roses & Rubber: Komakino SS12

BY Alice Newell-Hanson | Wed. December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM | OC
What could be more English than roses and track jackets? London brand Komakino takes its name from a 1980 Joy Division song, and its visual language of skinhead bomber jackets and boyish vulnerability taps into something innately British. For all the angst and camouflage, there's also something softer, like nostalgia for a misspent youth—it's no coincidence that Rihanna wore the brand's tape jacket in her video for "We Found Love".

This collection sees designer Federico Capalbo adding tailoring to the mix. Pants with cut-out knees and buckled blazers sit alongside hoodies, army shirts, and—the real eye-catcher—latex. Because I think this brand is just as obsession-worthy as its namesake, and a little bit because I love Rihanna, I forwarded Federico some questions about Komakino's latest collection and his recent collaboration with photographer Dennis Schoenberg.

Shop all Komakino here.

Alice Newell-Hanson: What were your references for Spring/Summer 2012?
Federico Capalbo: We consider each of our collections as part of a bigger thing, which is why the word season is quite difficult for us. For spring, we introduced camouflage, very light fabrics on structured tailoring, and small variations in contrast colors. We were looking at the idea of skin—from protection to vulnerability, and from cotton and wool to non-porous man-made materials.

ANH: How easy or hard was it working with latex? How did you get those really precise cuts?
FC: We decided to work with latex to give a fluidity and a spring take on a material that is usually constrictive by definition. Rubber usually has a kinky implication, we wanted to give it a new purpose so we proposed an alternative silhouette which does not cling to the body. Everything was laser-cut.

ANH: What's the story behind the SS12 video you made with Dennis Schoenberg?
FC: We worked on the video with Dennis and with the artist Matteo Giordano. We started with this visual idea I had of dividing the image (the screen) into two or more parts, then decided to add more elements that are proper to our aesthetic (the marching drum, the skinhead boy), and to communicate a feeling of intensity through the use of slow motion.

ANH: What is it about military clothing that gets you?
FC: We don't make uniforms but they fascinate us. We are aware that our clothes can be seen as clothes for gangs or tribes, but that is not the intention. For us, the uniform is one of the most powerful symbols in menswear. We integrate military elements because we want to evoke the idea of belonging—not to an army or to a movement—but as individuals.

ANH: What's behind the name Komakino? Is it a direct allusion to the Joy Division song?
FC: Yes, music is a constant in our lives. We grew up with certain records, and they became such a big part of our sensibility that they are our touchstones.

ANH: How did you react when you saw Rihanna in your tape jacket?
FC: A friend saw the video when it came out and told us, we had no idea. We were very pleased, it is always great when someone appreciates your work.

ANH: Finally, the British Fashion Council just announced a new menswear showcase that will launch for FW13. What about men's fashion in London right now is really exciting for you?
FC: There are a few good designers who have captured people's imaginations and made people more aware of menswear in general. London does not give a f*** in many ways, and that is probably what makes it exciting.

Shop all Komakino HERE.

FILED UNDER: Komakino, SS12, Interview, video