Whensmokeclears Spring 2022

Whensmokeclears is a NYC-based brand that rose from the ashes after a fire in the designers’ apartment nearly destroyed their first collection. The fire ignited founders Gil “Thermal” Taveras’ and Kyle “K$ace” Nelson’s desires to transition from sneakers and accessories for music videos to a blazing international presence. Whensmokeclears’ World Boss Leather Pants, pearl crosses and radiant heart necklaces have complemented the presence of many celebrities from Lil Yachty, Bella Thorne, and Trippie Redd to Christian Combs, Coi Leray, Quavo, and Swae Lee. The brand is synonymous with luxury and confidence which allows designs to translate across international boundaries.

As the smoke cleared in their NYC apartment, Thermal and K$ace saw a hazy vision of a pounding heart that had just been set alight in the center of the room. Their signature “Radiant Heart” has since been at the center of their designs as it “epitomizes the fire, confidence, and love we all hold within ourselves.” Whensmokeclears’ pieces are sentimental as they tell stories of the heart, inspire love, and tie emotions and fashion together with pearl chains and jewel encrusted hearts.

As their vision has become clearer, the pair have been able to conceptualize full collections and tell their story through fashion. Whensmokeclears’ debuted their first runway presentation with a showroom collection during NYFW. The collection, entitled “UNDERWORLD,” is chronicled by Taveras and Nelson as a “search for existence that leads back to us. The collection shifts the direction of our ascension from vertical to horizontal. [We are] channeling natural silhouettes of who we are into what we want to become at the hand of our Radiant Heart fellowship. While most aim to escape, we choose to embrace this true-to-life mindset.”

Improvement in the present and into the future is at the heart of the collection with several looks mixing regal styling with casual pieces and patterns that define the brand through intricate textile design. The color story of the collection is vibrant and warm with pink, red, and yellow accenting many of the looks. The collection guides us to “pop the trunk” and “go heart searching” in a showroom filled with distressed stacked white trunks detailed with radiant heart locks in the shape of arches and pyramids. At some points in the presentation, models looked like they were completing the most successful milk crate challenge ever which Fashion Reverie surmises to be representative of the brand opting to remain in the realities of the horizontal plane after stepping down from a vertical ascension.

Images courtesy of Whensmokeclears

One of the most gorgeous looks is a yellow caftan layered over a pink long sleeve top with white Roman lettering down the sleeves. The look is styled with a pink headscarf and the model is holding the gold radiant heart charm rosary as his hands are clasped in prayer. This spiritually eclectic look anchors the collection in such a way that every other piece feels in reference to it. Graphic lettering and tees with messages of love palpate to bring the looks to life; “LOVE WILL SAVE,” “EVERYTHING IS ALIVE,” and “ALL LOVE EVERYTHING” are written sentiments that pulse across the model’s chests. Collection details include Radiant Heart prints and hardware, bucket hats, and stereos and headphones that seem to reference the brand’s origins. The closing look features Radiant Heart patterned leather shorts with a black leather jacket lined in a multi-color watch print alluding to the “future of reality” that the brand seeks to visualize.

—Tessa Swantek

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