Fish-faced models and Trump as style icon: things don’t look promising for anonymous design collective Section 8, but trust us, they really are
There’s political fashion, and then there’s Section 8 – the radicals whose debut show at New York’s David Lewis gallery in February 2017 went direct to the source for its inspiration: Trump Tower. Designed with a young Trump intern in mind, the collection was almost threatening in its fixation on grey-toned office wear necessities – a suit jacket dress, a long skirt in pinstripe, a short leather jacket. Somehow, the designers – an anonymous collective – made this administrative wardrobe look wild and strange, as crisp buttoned-up white shirts give way to shoulders and midriffs exposed by cutaways.
Named after the Section 8 low-rent housing prevalent in New York, the collective are intent on being accessible with both price point and aesthetic. “Over three months we just developed our staples and added onto the list,” they say. The mood was tense and surreal, with some of the models walking out with koi (as in the fish) protruding from their mouths.
The fish came with a message. “The Section 8 girl is a Coy Fish,” they say, “but we analogise it to the idiom ‘Fish out of water’.” It reflects where the collective are at the moment. “We are all on this new adventure together, and really curious on where it will take us.”