“I saw her works at David Zwirner gallery and MoMA around the same time I moved to New York so it left an impression on me,” he remembers. “I started research for this collection and picked up on some of her installation pieces for which she used construction workers’ uniforms. I’ve seen those a lot in NYC, so I wanted to incorporate them in a more wearable way.” Those references came in the form of technical fabrics, fluro colours, and strap-like belts.
It was this aesthetic that intrigued Dazed 100 stylist and Hood By Air collaborator Akeem Smith, who partnered with Kawanishi for both his BA and MA collections and worked on the presentation. “Once he told me about LANDLORD, I was extremely curious about what his take on workwear would be, since we are so used to working on over the top conceptual things,” he says. “I had a date the night of the style-out session, so I was just making up in my head ideally what I would want him to wear if this was his wardrobe.”
Kawanishi and Smith teamed up with rising casting director Walter Pearce to find faces who represented the collection and the specific type of masculinity it embodies. “I asked Walter to cast models who look like young actors from American movies – Kids and Ken Park by Larry Clark, Elephant by Gus Van Sant, Gummo by Harmony Korine and Terminator 2,” says Kawanishi. Another collaboration came via London-based DJ and PC Music crew member Finn Mactaggart, who created a soundtrack which “tries to capture a noisy urban jungle, the daily interactions with and impersonations of figures of authority, the absurdity and diversity of a large city, and the colour and beauty of functional uniforms and the people who wear them” – check it out below.
The SS17 collection demonstrates that New York is clearly at the heart of LANDLORD. Not only does the way its residents approach style serve as a strong inspiration for the designer (“I really like seeing people still wearing Pelle Pelle, Ecko and Sean John stuff”, he notes of Harlem, his new neighbourhood), but all the label’s products are made in NYC. As for what’s in store for the future of LANDLORD, Kawanishi says he wants “to make streetwear American again.” Watch this space.