COGNOMEN A/W2023-24 in Tokyo

Look at a group of football supporters, both young and old together, wildly excited about the most peaceful fight that there is. The sight of people connecting, snuggling up together and encouraging each other, conveys the vision of the designer at the root of COGNOMEN. With the slogan "Fight for your glory", Gene Michael Oe presents a statement that was created by reflecting on his own complex origins, the environment in which he was born and raised, and all of the scenes that he has experienced in various parts of the world.

No culture is monolithic or can be uniformly stereotyped. The idea of multiculturalism, which is stateless, is very natural to Oe, and he sees it as something that should be focused on in times of division. "There is darkness even in a seemingly peaceful country, and there is light in a country that is at war", Oe says. He goes on to explain, "The most important thing for me is not to be narrow-minded, to accurately understand various cultures, and to express them in my own way". And in the Fall/Winter 2023 collection "Fight for", a perception of the momentary exhilaration created by a long struggle, the way that night always falls but then the sun rises again, this constant ‘fight to end the fight’ can clearly be seen. The peace mark glove docked with the military MA-1 symbolises the ambiguous duality that COGNOMEN finds, as well as a message of peace.

The choice of the shirt coat as the kick-off, which is designed with words from the languages of the countries and regions of the southern hemisphere, such as Nigerian Pidgin, as well as English and Portuguese, is centred on the essence of the designer's passion for football since he was a child. This has been one of the essential fields for his expansion of the designs since the beginning of the brand. Crowds filling the stadium were depicted in a jacquard denim fabric in cut-and-sew prints, and developed into the basic coats, jackets and trousers for the brand. The utility and sporty mood of supporters' clothing, including the football scarf, is transformed into an elegant fashion expression, and the ‘radiance’ shared by both the smile of victory and the tears of defeat is conveyed by the interweaving of reflecting transparent threads in the knitwear. The ace number "11", which has appeared as a decorative symbol in previous collections, has now permeated the composition of the clothing itself, resulting in a knit series made with original threads in 11 colours. An approach that affirms that colours cannot be specified or decided conclusively, and that different people perceive colours differently, indicates the inevitable shift in perspective from the external to the internal. The multidimensional update of knit manufacturing methods, inspired by techniques in cut and sew and making shirts, is deeply tied to the originality of COGNOMEN.

The smooth-textured material from a dead stock of imported Italian suits was ingeniously reworked to create a series of co-ords. Traditional pinstripes in a colour palette of black and dark red, and grey and light blue, are tailored in a relaxed shape and unrestricted voluminous design, lending a classiness to the optimistic look that runs throughout the collection. The kilt skirt, made from the same material, is a new addition to the collection with its ‘traditional’ idea, and the large rosette is a symbol of celebration that decorates the world beyond "Fight".

In particular, Oe says that he is influenced by the culture of the southern hemisphere, which he often visits. He says that he has long questioned himself why the northern hemisphere leads the fashion trends. COGNOMEN's eternal theme is not only geopolitical differences, but also leaping beyond stereotypes, accurately discovering ‘(multi)cultures’ and ‘creating multiculturalism’ in an easygoing and lighthearted way. ‘I wanted to put up a big slogan that would catch the eye of many people, and for them to create their own interpretations,’ he says. ‘That's the main reason why I decided to do a runway show,’ he added. The spectacle viewed from the stands this night must have been different for each person.

Instagram: Instagram COGNOMEN 

Designer: Gene Michael Oe
Show Direction: SHIGE KANEKO CO.,LTD.
Stylist: Shohei Kashima in W inc.
Casting Direction: Kosuke Kuroyanagi in VOLO
Hair Direction: Mikio
Make-Up Direction: Kazuyuki Matsumura
Photography: Genki Nishikawa in mild inc.
Movie Direction: Genki Nishikawa in mild inc.
Music Direction: Early Saisoku
Translation: Patricia Daly Oe
Press: Keitaro Nagasaka in Sakas PR

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