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Vignettes at Capsule

The NYC menswear edition invites other design disciplines to take the show beyond fashion

by Graham Hiemstra in Design on 23 July 2012

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Now in its fifth year, Capsule aims to offer something different than the expected fashion tradeshow. Inspired by the simple idea that expanding one's awareness beyond their primary industry fosters creativity and progress, this season the New York installment of Capsule introduces "Vignettes," a set of unique installations that bring together ventures in art, design, literature and beyond for the opportunity to share experiences and ideas. The eight enterprises given the open-ended invitation to present include Best Made Company, byKenyan, Gingko Press, Hugo & Marie, Jack Spade, King's Country Salvage, Matter and New York Art Department. Taking the shape of pop-up shops, mobile galleries and sculptural structures, the following are three vignettes that stood out for their originality.

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Given their plot, Best Made Co erected a 14' x 16' canvas tent to serve as a experiential mini-shop and homebase for all visiting outdoor enthusiasts. Offering refuge from the menswear madness the massive tent is stocked inside and out with everything one needs to live in the outdoors, whether in the remote forest or the middle of a city. While the site may seem a bit out of place at first glance, Best Made's commitment to making high quality products with a rich history parallels the mission driving many other brands showing at Capsule. "To put us in this context seemed like an interesting juxtaposition, but it also made sense. We see it as an opportunity to be exposed to a lot of interesting people that would probably enjoy what we're doing, and vice versa," says Best Made designer Hunter Craighill.

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"It's also a good opportunity to launch a handful of new products and get some feedback on the direction we're moving in," adds Craighill. "We think the other exhibitors will appreciate the different products we offer, and the details we consider." These soon-to-be-released products include a rigid, all-purpose gear bag made with waxed canvas, ballistics nylon and kevlar; a T-shirt made with Japanese cotton slub; and a wool blanket by Pendleton for Best Made.

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Taking a design-driven approach to the open-ended brief to create their own Vignette is NYC's design shop and manufacturer Matter. Conceived by head designers Jamie Gray and Danielle Epstein, the skeleton of a structure acts as a sort of dressing room shrine. As Gray puts it, the concept creates a "slice or portion of a retail or showroom experience, capturing the intimate moment of being in the dressing lounge." At the center of the set-up is Boxer, a modular storage system Matter debuted at ICFF earlier this year. By starting with the furniture and designing the structure, the two designed their Vignette from the outside in, or "working backward" as Epstein says. This unconventional approach allowed the structure design to evolve naturally from the its first sketch on a napkin through digital design and, eventually, construction.

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"Capsule had this vision of design not necessarily being just about fashion or just about clothing or just about one particular aspect, and that's something where we also see a lot of potential," says Epstein. Speaking to this idea of crossing over the boundaries between design disciplines, select garments by like-minded labels can be found displayed throughout the structure alongside Matter designs.

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Brooklyn-based creative agency Hugo & Marie created a minimalist structure that acts as a transparent gallery showcasing work by artists the agency represents. Consisting of little more than a few pieces of free-standing scaffolding, the Vignette offers passerbys a moment of tranquility with a place to sit and consider art as design.

For a closer look at the creative use of space in these three Vignettes see the slideshow.

Images by Graham Hiemstra

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