Just in XX Fall 2020

Though the show notes from Just in XX detail that Taiwanese streetwear designer Justin Yu-Ying Chou was inspired by Taiwanese modern and contemporary artist, Tsong Pu, and his use of continuous square matrices, at closer examination, perhaps Justin Yu-Ying Chou was inspired the Lubavitch sect of the Hasid. Known for his unique pairing of East Asian design aesthetic and Western references, Yu-Ying Chou in this fall 2020 collection melded the two seeming disparate cultures seamlessly.

While some industry professionals may not have noticed the similarity between Yu-Ying Chou’s garments and faith-based attire of the ultra-conservative Lubavitch Hasid, most observant New Yorkers and industry professionals of a certain age recognize this reference. And particularly if you are familiar with Jean-Paul Gaultier’s fall 1993 “Chic Rabbis” collection, you will observe that Yu-Ying Chou’s fall 2020 collection reflects a similar reference point. The distinguishing difference being Yu-Ying Chou’s collection is heavily based in urban streetwear.

Which is the genius of this collection. Yu-Ying Chou has demonstrated for several seasons that his quite adept at melding references and inspirations from disparate sources. However, this season Yu-Ying Chou struck gold with this blending of different cultures. And interestingly many of the looks in the collection had an undeniable 80s vibe, particularly when combined with Lubavitch Hasid-like hats. This look was all the range in the late 80s in NYC. (Think Amy Irving in “Delancey Street.”) To that point looks of chic urbanites in late 80s New York City flaunted the oversized outerwear that was so predominant in this collection.

That said; what stood out most in this collection was Yu-Ying Chou’s outerwear. Many of Yu-Ying Chou’s layered outwear combinations that came in a range of bold colors and with embellished with geometrical shapes, reflecting Tsong Pu’s art aesthetic of line and shape, added an exciting combination of modern art and streetwear swag. In some instances, this collection was wearable art while still being accessible and viable to modern consumers.

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

Yu-Ying Chou in this collection also brilliantly mastered the art of cultural appropriation without stigmatizing or off-putting any of the cultural references he drew inspiration from. In an era where some designers don’t understand how to appropriately give homage to sources of inspiration, Yu-Ying Chou seamlessly combined different cultural sources in respectful celebration.

William S. Gooch

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