Exclusive: Behind the Scenes with the MADE Class of 2022

Exclusive: Behind the Scenes with the MADE Class of 2022

GEN V

Exclusive: Behind the Scenes with the MADE Class of 2022

K.NGSLEY, Whensmokeclears, and Bed on Water presented their debut runway collections as a part of the two-day spectacle

K.NGSLEY, Whensmokeclears, and Bed on Water presented their debut runway collections as a part of the two-day spectacle

Text: Matthew Velasco

New York City has always been a hotbed for dynamic, emerging artistic talent. From undiscovered, soon-to-be greats to established powerhouses, the city's knack for developing an ever-evolving artistic dialogue is unrivaled. Now, that conversation has been re-upped once again with MADE x PayPal—a two-day event showcasing local New York businesses and upcoming talents alike.

Whensmokeclears

Curated by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, the event featured performances from Nas, Parris Goebel, Heron Preston, among others as well as two dynamic seated runway shows. The showcase concluded with a display of the city's hottest talents, with Kingsley Gbadegesin of K.NGSLEY Thermal and K$ace of Whensmokeclears, and Shanel Campbell of Bed On Water making their runway debuts. In tandem with IMG and PayPal, Chow and Osborne handpicked the three designers and will provide future guidance through the MADE mentorship program.

The brands utilized makeup by SIMIHAZE BEAUTY

Below, we went behind the scenes with K.NGSLEY, Whensmokeclears, and Bed on Water ahead of the main event to discuss their preparations, inspirations, and so much more. Read more, below!

K.NGSLEY

Founded in 2020, Kingsley Gbadegesin's label K.NGSLEY is prided on celebrating the Black, Queer, and Femme body through reimagined classics and separates that turn traditional fashion structures on its head. The label has been a steady rise since its inception—its inaugural expansive collection, C1A1 or Collection One Act One, was chock-full of cut-to-perfection, tonal ready-to-wear. Now, for Collection One Act Two, Gbadegesin stepped into his own, with a thoughtful foray into womenswear and pieces that blended seamlessly into the label's DNA.

When asked about his inspiration behind the collection, Gbadegesin simply stated "Back to C*nt!" The 20-piece offering saw the designer transfer many of the sartorial touch points that made his previous collection so distinct: reimagined tailoring, angular silhouettes, and of course, lots of skin-barring cut-outs.

Low-rise denim was paired alongside deconstructed basics while the collection's womenswear showings—a new range for the brand—boasted a trio of slinky black dresses and an all-white shorts and button down combination. "I am inspired by the people that make me want to create and the tenacious spirit of this city," Gbadegesin explains. "[K.NGSLEY] allows anyone to show up as themselves...truly!"

Whensmokeclears

"We started in New York and went to Atlanta for a little where we cultivated a space where fashion and music can come together," Thermal and K$ace, the duo behind Whensmokeclears, note. "We decided to come back to New York because of the pace and how quickly you can create here. New York is home. It’s where we started [and] it’s where our family and first community is."

For Spring/Summer 2023, the brand's collection—1-800-WHENSMOKECLEARS—looked to the concept of a digital renaissance, mainly how society is increasingly reliant upon technology as a means of expression. Referencing tech motifs like phone handsets and pre-paid calling cards, the brand toyed with color and texture throughout with an emphasis on deep reds, blues, and a bevy of heart-shaped embellishments. The collection had something for everyone: shining underpinnings, oversized trousers, and vibrant graphic motifs.

"[We] wanted to be a part of MADE as a nod to the community that keeps fashion in New York thriving on all levels," Thermal and K$ace tell V. "The raw young talent provides a fresh air to the legacy giants that keep the elusiveness going, but together we make this place called fashion."

Bed on Water

Rounding out the trio of showings was Shanel Campbell of Bed on Water."It’s super important for New York designers who were born and raised here to have a platform and opportunities to be elevated within the industry," Campbell says. "There are elements throughout my designs that subconsciously and consciously reference my environment: the fact that I grew up taking the train everyday, I spend most of my time walking, and that I don’t know how to drive."

Campbell's 20-look collection included punchy prints, strappy, skin-hugging dresses, and ultra-mini skirts that drove home the designer's organic studio proccess. "In 2020 I was doing unintentional illustrations of distorted characters, I was just letting the energy flow from my hands to the tip of my pencil" Campbell notes. "They started as black and white outlines and expanded to bold abstract prints reaching new dimensions. It was really nice to start from an abstract place that felt random and turn them into really beautiful garments."

Campbell's collection was lively, with experimental and wearable pieces that accented the designer's organic, multi-faceted approach. "I consider myself more of an interdisciplinary artist than just a fashion designer. I find that in moments where I don’t have the ability to create fashion because of limited resources, I always find peace and calm in painting and illustration which feeds my soul and nurtures my spirit."

Credits: Images Courtesy of Justin Keith Hess Production: IMG Focus Styling: Shibon Kennedy for Bed On Water, Solange Franklin for K.NGSLEY, Rasaan Wyzard for Whensmokeclears Casting: Shawn Dezan Hair: Bob Recine using Redken product Makeup: James Kaliardos for the Wall Group for SIMIHAZE BEAUTY Audio: ADI Lighting Designer: John Torres Musical Direction: Bad Colours Music for K.NGSLEY: KIA Shoes for K.NGSLEY: K.NGSLEY + Chelsea Paris Jewelry for K.NGSLEY: K.NGSLEY Glasses for K.NGSLEY: Grey Ant

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