Rochambeau x Yung Jake to Close NYFW: Men’s with Art, Sweatsuits, and Rap


BY OBI ANYANWU

If the phrase “save the best for last” is a reflection of how we put things in order, then Rochambeau is the best brand at New York Fashion Week: Men’s. The phrase “last but not least” is more fitting, for it is rather impossible to decide which brand is ‘best,’ but Rochambeau is undoubtedly one of the top names of the almost 50 brands showing at NYFW: Men’s this season.

Co-founded by Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper, Rochambeau plans to end NYFW: Men’s this month “with a bang,” complete with a digital art installation, launch event and music performances.

“We want people to not understand what they are walking into,” said Rochambeau co-founder Laurence Chandler.

From Left: Joshua Cooper, Yung Jake, Laurence Chandler

The New York City-based menswear brand is going to transform Cadillac House into an immersive digital experience, featuring digital screens that will be controlled by artist Yung Jake, who collaborated with Rochambeau on a technology-inspired capsule collection that is debuting at the event.

In addition to a digital installation, rap artists Smokepurrp, Smokey MarGielaa and SquidNice will perform, Jus Ske will DJ the event, and of course, the menswear label will spotlight its capsule collection with Yung Jake that serves as the focal point for the event.

“Yung Jake is a visual artist who touches on various worlds,” said Chandler. “He has been known as a rapper, an artist, and a director, but I truly see him as an artist.”

Chandler has unknowingly been a fan of Jake’s work for some time. The designer purchased editions that Jake made to support his first rap video, Datamosh, and became a fan, even attending the artist’s shows at the MOCA and the MOMA.

“This capsule collaboration is an extension of Jake’s work,” said Chandler. The collection features emojis, which the designer often uses to make full-fledged portraits and art pieces, tribal patterns, iPhone chargers and USB cords.

“We respect that Jake uses rap to get people to pay attention to his art,” said Chandler. This capsule fuses those worlds, and I think this is great because we’re having an art conversation, a rap conversation, and a fashion conversation. We’re billing this as art, sweatsuits, and rap.”

Rochambeau has amassed much success in recent years, being named one of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists in 2016 and one of the US representatives for the 2016-17 Woolmark Prize competition, both of which have been beneficial for the brand in terms of visibility and growth.

“The competitions push you to do so much more outside of what you have to do from a season to season basis, but you come out of it stronger after going through them,” said Chandler. “Our small team became more focused and better at delivering on difficult schedules and demands. It was cool to show what we’re doing on an international level. We presented in front of some of the legendary people in the fashion world and that is an honor.”

Chandler felt that the competitions, as well as artist collaborations, allowed for the brand to explore the art world beyond their friends. The menswear brand for its Fall 2017 collection partnered with Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer of Devo and frequent Wes Anderson collaborator, and received rave reviews. Chandler describes the experience as “enabling,” and believes the brand should embrace art collaborations and the conversations that come with it.

My interests have always been in the art world. I think that doing the competition allowed me to really find this ability to embrace both worlds and intersect them. This is a dialogue that we need to really embrace—this fusion of artist collaborations where we’re not just inspired by an artist but truly working in tandem with the artist.

- Laurence Chandler

For Spring 2018, Rochambeau will continue to work with an artist. They will debut their Spring 2018 Collection as part of Women’s Fashion week in September.

Images | Brittney Scott


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