For the first fashion show of the first collection of a completely new label, the Casket Collection Fall/Winter streetwear reception was heaving with attractive and influential people. The turnout for Sean Mac's line was stunning to the point that it wasn't immediately clear if there would be room for the runway.
Chicago's tastemakers are tripping over themselves to grab the handful of pieces ranging from branded beanies to t-shirts and hoodies. When I got an invite to the preview, there was absolutely no way I was turning it down. The buzz was far too deafening to deny.
Street wear should obviously be comfortable and look good, which Casket accomplishes. Good street wear, however, is exclusive and built on a community. That's where the brand has really found a foothold.
There is something that feels more intimate about supporting a small batch designer. In a similar way, you could go to Jewel or you could go to a Farmer's Market. There are people who just want an apple and there are people who want a Michigan Braeburn handpicked on a family farm.
In fashion, the people who know are going to know. Those are the types of people that I want to talk to. Wearing an Anna Hovet, Ends/Wealth, or Mishka piece will always bring a fashion bonding moment with a stranger. It's one of the greatest perks. You look good, unique and stylish...while making friends. It's awesome.
People who follow small batch designers tend to be those who are "seen" frequently. They're the people that go out, who have a social standing and notable reputation. My DJ friend PHNM made the point that you don't want to be seen wearing the same shirt from Urban Outfitters. In the entertainment/nightlife industry, your individuality is especially important.
Musician Matt Ryd made the point that he wouldn't buy a shirt from Target, even though it would fit his style. For him, he follows t-shirt blogs and daily sites. As he put it, if he sees someone wearing the same shirt it "means they're relatively intense about their geekiness, and are probably very into the subject matter on their shirt. So if I see someone wearing a shirt with a DeLorean crashing into the Tardis, I know I can strike up a conversation with them about woot.com, Back to the Future, or Doctor Who. And at the very least we can exchange a passing high five if I mention the reference."
Ultimately, it's not about the clothes, it's how you wear them. An outfit can make one person look like a crazy cat lady pulled backwards through a hedge and the other will look like Giselle.
To pull off Casket, you need to be a bit of a badass. I am not. But you better bet I'm going to be giving it a shot in that hoodie.