Moses Gauntlett Cheng are the DIY design duo at the forefront of New York’s new wave. Made up of Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng (and formerly, David Moses), the designers met while interning at Eckhaus Latta and have since garnered attention for the fun, homespun quality of their clothes which make you feel like they’re trying to work out what punk’s DIY ethic means in 2016.
At New York Fashion Week in February, MGC presented a collection which – in their own words – is like, “You dragged yourself out of bed and put on a really good coat over what you've been wearing for the past few days.” It featured ribbed knit and houndstooth crafted into bras and panties, crop tops and leg warmers, ruched trousers and hooded jackets.
For the collection’s accompanying lookbook, art directed by Matthew Tsang, the duo enlisted the New York underground’s favourite photographer, Thomas McCarty, who lensed it in Milk Studio’s sun-drenched show space. Here, Gauntlett and Cheng discuss AW16, the feeling of a post-show come-down that inspired it and the real reason they’re label is gender fluid.
What were you inspired by this season?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: We started by exploring our post-show feelings, the kind of depression and reluctance to work after something so all-consuming and exciting. We tried to make clothes that expressed some sort of frustration and laziness, but also clothes that you wear to drag yourself out of that.
How would you describe your approach to fashion?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: We always start with our own emotions at a time, and try to express what we’re experiencing in our lives at the moment. Our clothes represent our anxieties and desires, it’s pretty personal.
People often comment on the gender fluidity of MGC. Why is this an important part of your brand?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: We never really sketch clothes with bodies in them, and don’t address that until casting, where we put people in whatever they feel good in and respond to. It’s not so much about gender but people connecting with what they’re wearing, and not limiting that in any way.
“It’s not so much about gender but people connecting with what they’re wearing, and not limiting that in any way” – Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng
Who are the people you’ve cast for this lookbook?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: Our casting director was Joseph Geagan, a New York-based artist and hair stylist. Together we assembled a group of our friends and people we admire, who all bought a really amazing energy to the show. They’re the people we hang out with in studio, the people we see at parties, our friends and our family.
What do you look for in models?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: We’re always attracted to someone’s personality first, people who are okay to hang out in a freezing RV, comfort us when we’re stressing out backstage or sit on a window ledge and drink for an hour. The clothes look better on people who connect with them in some way, and feel good in them.
What’s next for you guys?
Moses Gauntlett Cheng: A romantic motorcycle tour around Italy and a few nights off before starting again. Then no sleep for ages.