Los Angeles-based artist and designer Brett Westfall is joining the showroom for emerging brands housed in Dover Street Market’s 3537 cultural hub in Paris, where he will debut his spring-summer 2023 collection as well as stage an art installation called “The Tolerance of Drought.”
Westfall has dipped in and out of the fashion industry for years, producing a line of clothes called Unholy Matrimony from 2002 to 2011 and collaborating on one of Dover Street Market-owner Comme des Garçons’s trendsetting “guerrilla stores” in LA in 2008.
The artist has since worked with Comme des Garçons to issue a capsule collection of items covered in chunky lettering and hand-painted strawberry motifs, which was sold alongside an exhibit that toured to Dover Street Market locations in Tokyo, LA and New York through 2021.
“There’s a really nice feeling and touch about his work. It’s naif but deep as well,” Comme des Garçons president Adrian Joffe said about Westfall.
Comme des Garçons has accelerated the pace of its partnerships with emerging designers since opening a new space for Dover Street Market in Paris’ Marais district, forging deals to showroom, market, distribute, and even coordinate manufacturing for a cast of brands that now total 11.
Creative labels like Vaquera, ERL, and Weinsanto help to animate Dover Street Market’s stores, offsetting the increasingly luxe, ubiquitous positioning of big names like Gucci and Prada. Comme des Garçons does not own any of the brands in its DSM Paris stable, preferring to work on commission. The scope of the partnership varies in each instance.
Amid mounting competition and market complexities, more small fashion businesses are partnering with brand accelerators. Martine Rose and Coperni are among the brands backed by London-based Tomorrow, while Off-White’s operator New Guards Group has added brands to its stable including Verbal and Yoon Ahn’s Ambush.
“These brands often lack financial means, and also the physical, concrete means of getting [their collections] made,” Joffe said. “It’s a win-win.”
While Westfall has sold garments alongside his art exhibitions for years, his spring-summer collection on display at DSM Paris’ 3537 space during Paris Menswear Week this June will represent a more well-rounded offer, with a mix of straightforward, merch-inspired items like t-shirts and hats as well as higher-end, hand-detailed pieces including torn tie-dyed sweatshirts (which the artist dyes and distresses himself) and pants with patchwork embellishments. “I try to put as much of myself into each piece as possible,” Westfall said.
Following the Paris showroom Westfall said he hopes to continue the project at a more regular rhythm, putting out collections twice a year in line with the menswear calendar.
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