Commission &PaulSmith

Our new &PaulSmith collaboration with NYC-based brand Commission – alongside the support of Paul Smith’s Foundation – is a tribute to generational style, and a deep dive into the Paul Smith archive.

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More than 20 years ago, Paul wanted to do something special to pay tribute to his late father – who, among other things, had instilled in him a deep love of photography from a young age. Peering through a viewfinder for the first time forever changed the way Paul looked at the world. To this day he urges people to not just look, but also to see.

“We were made to feel incredibly welcomed, and as a result we could be comfortable exchanging ideas and executing a shared vision with the Paul Smith team,” Dylan and Jin tell us. “They possess an acute sense of who the Paul Smith audience are, and we enjoyed working with different departments, from print to knitwear. There was so much knowledge to draw on, and we were also able to dive into the Paul Smith archive for inspiration. It was extremely helpful and educational for us.”

Commission was founded back in 2018, and since its inception has focused on reframing how Asian culture is represented in western fashion. “There was really no brand in America at the time that spoke to being Asian the way that we wanted to.” To do justice to that idea, Dylan and Jin – who are from Vietnam and South Korea, respectively – looked back to the wardrobes of their parents in the 1980s and 1990s, often pulling from family photo albums for inspiration. “When we met, we each wanted to eventually build something of our own, and the common thread was our shared memories of growing up in Korea and Vietnam.”

Another rich source of inspiration was the Paul Smith archive, and the collections from either side of the millennium – 1997/98 and 2002/03, to be specific. The collaborative collection features new versions of pieces from these seasons.

“This period of Paul’s archive resonates with us in several ways. There’s a subversive sense of irreverence, mundanity and functionality that greatly overlaps with how we approach Commission menswear,” the duo says. “We wanted to honour the grunginess of British punk and the touch of ‘preppy’ in Paul’s identity while injecting the casualness of downtown New York and its attitude to dressing.”

Look out for exaggerated and elongated takes on vintage Paul Smith pieces, including a sweeping wool-cashmere overcoat, a structured double-breasted brown worsted wool suit, and snake print tailored jeans (one of Dylan and Jin’s favourite pieces). “We think that the pieces are very modern, a quality that Paul had successfully injected this into his own work several decades ago,” they add.

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Published: 10.23

Photo: Mark Seliger