It’s perhaps easy to feel lost or overwhelmed in the constant deluge of fashion’s ins and outs. What’s hot and what’s not. What’s cool and uncool. Or anything in between, really. The industry’s increasingly breakneck speed and its unsustainable model have been thoroughly questioned for some time now. But while no large-scale systemic change has happened to change that, the unprecedented hit of the coronavirus considerably slowed down its pace.
The Australian design partners behind Wardrobe NYC — Christine Centenera, the stylist and fashion director of Vogue Australia, and Josh Goot, the fashion designer — were among the many who felt the blow of the pandemic. “Our complete supply chain closed from March through June, which impacted our development and production calendar,” says Goot, who is currently based in New York. For him, the inevitable slump in production, however, offered its own glass-half-full perspective. “It gave us time to breathe, think more about our unique proposition.”
To begin with, Wardrobe NYC has always been unique. In late 2017, the duo, who had then been partners for 10 years, founded the label as a “solution to modern dressing.” Over the years prior, Centenera was constantly being solicited for fashion advice. Her sisters would wonder about a well-tailored black blazer that didn’t cost an arm and a leg; friends would ask where to find the best T-shirts or the simplest black trousers.
“You’re always asked these questions,” she recalls. “And often I find it difficult to send them places that are reasonable — middle-ground but really well-made pieces.”
Enter: Wardrobe NYC. Centenera and Goot’s label is dedicated to high-quality basics for men and women — a concept Goot has coined as “democratic luxury.” And instead of adhering to fashion’s rapid seasonal cycle, the pair created their own calendar, one that’s anchored in permanence. Collections, or what they dub as “Releases”, typically only feature four to eight pieces. These tend to be in a palette of black and white, and are meant to be the building blocks of whoever’s wardrobe — regardless of professions, personal styles, ages, body types. (A majority of the pieces are cut generously and range in sizes; their men’s T-shirt, for one, runs from small to 3XL.)
Aimed to address the relentless design, production and consumption cycle endemic to the fashion industry, the label’s original vision, Goot says, has been further thrust into sharper focus in 2020.
Last week, the label unveiled its latest release, the ‘Permanent Collection’. The edit is “an evolution of signature pieces,” describes Goot, of which silhouettes are extracted from the label’s previous releases. “There are around 30 unique styles in the collection,” says Centenera. “As with all our Releases, the Permanent Collection is designed to be worn together. This approach to easy style has certainly taken on new relevance in this work-from-home era!”
In the lookbook Centenera styled, the womenswear collection’s tint of WFH references is apparent: Zoom-ready blazers are paired with sweatpants; an oversized hoodie is layered underneath a structured coat; the footwear of choice are slippers. The palette is still very much neutral-forward, its most colourful shade being a pleasant light blue.
“Wardrobe.NYC has always been about a practical, minimalist approach to style. [These are] core pieces designed and crafted to be worn everyday,” adds Centenera. “With this collection, we are affirming these codes. And it feels right for the times.”
Wardrobe NYC’s ‘Permanent Collection’ is now available online.
Photographs by Will Davidson
Styled by Christine Centenera
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