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Komakino Film by Dennis Schoenberg

The SHOWStudio collaborator and filmmaker shoots Federico Capalbo and Jin Kim's new Komakino collection

Taking reference from a time when how you dressed, genuinely, represented what, and who, you believed in, Federico Capalbo and Jin Kim's Komakino is, today, a bolt of authenticity. Built of a sincere desire to simply create garments that project the couples own identity, the duo pull together references from all aspects of their personal aesthetic and ideals, for each collection. Rather than start again from scratch at the beginning of every season, Komakino's themes remain a constant. While there is, of course, some variation in weight and fabric from spring/summer to autumn/winter, it is the same ideas and the use of very similar palletes and shapes, that highlight the label as an identity as opposed to a look.

Capalbo and Kim are very much interested in creating a community of like minded individuals around their work, pulling together a collective as opposed to working as lone figures. Recruiting both photographer Dennis Schoenberg, and writer Dean Mayo Davies, together they have produced a short film and installation as part of a Komakino exhibition, held at Envoy Gallery, New York. Featuring a soundtrack by infamous industrial act Coil, the footage takes the fashion film to a new level, creating a tense ideology and a subtle call to arms, as opposed to simply a soundtracked and post produced, moving, photo shoot.


Dazed Digital: Where did the idea behind making a film originally come from?

Federico Capalbo: We created the Envoy installation based on themes from the last three collections, and decided to make a film that also communicated these as part of it. The feeling of someone who believes in something, but is almost in revolt, was very current. We knew we would use banners and flags, and we also became interested in American college fraternities and the esoteric idea of a brotherhood. 

DD: How did working with Dennis Schoenberg come about?

Federico Capalbo: We knew each other and knew we had a lot in common; we have the same references in music and sub-culture even though he is maybe ten years older. Dennis is very dedicated and passionate about what he does. 

DD: Did you have a script for what you wanted?

Federico Capalbo: I storyboarded parts of it, but we didn’t want to be too literal. In the end it is just a solitary boy carrying a flag, God knows where. 

DD: It seems that all of the different aspects of your work influence each other fluidly. The aesthetics of the film are of course inherent in the collection, as the clothes tell the story, but the same ideas are current not only in this collection, also in previous ones. 

Federico Capalbo: Yes, I think that this idea of revolt runs through it all, through the film, the installation and the collection. But not as part of an army, more someone who is true to himself, rather than loyal to something. 

DD: Do you have key pieces that appear throughout each collection?

Federico Capalbo: We regularly use certain elements of tailoring, and both trench and MA1 jackets, with some military influences, utility pockets for instance. It means something to us. It's what we wear.

DD: The label has a strong counter culture, and the tougher aesthetics attached to it stylistically, aesthetic, which is currently quite unfamiliar in fashion. Is that something that you want to bring forwards again? 

Federico Capalbo: It's something that is missing I think. There is, perhaps, a lot of appearance but little soul, in design currently. We don't want to appear pretentious and say that what we are doing really stands out because 'we truly believe'. We just want to create an identity, and what we do is what we are interested in; the music that we listen to, and the people that we refer to.

DD: Do you feel that idea of identity is something that is lacking in some of today's fashion and style?

Federico Capalbo: Maybe. I wouldn’t want to do anything I didn't feel very connected to. 

DD: So what is it that you want to leave behind with Komakino?

Federico Capalbo: It's not so much that we want to leave something behind as to build something new. We know we are too influenced by things that are in the past, but we do think we need to represent them, so that they can be referenced in the future, to create something new. I do think you should be aware of what has been before, in order to move forwards.