Cartoon Fashion steps off the Page: Sankuanz London Mens Spring/Summer 2015
GQ China presents the Xiamen-based brand Sankuanz from designer Shangguan Zhe. The young designer gave his audience a surreal voyage into pop culture from around the world for Spring/Summer 2015 with a playful and irreverent mix of street fashion staples combined with on-trend sportswear silhouettes, all set against Japanese animation and graffiti accents.
White, sheer, elongated shirts stretch away from the neck, giving the body a triangular form that distorts the body to cartoonish proportions. Each design reveals further depth upon rotation, the reverse of some outfits unveiling a canvas covered in sketches, while in other cases long shirts flare out to recall Japanese bosozoku (biker gang) style.
Beyond the silhouettes, the graphic shapes take center stage—playful and abstract, at times as simple as a shaky-lined apple or banana, while at others allowing the mind to fill in the gaps, as exemplified by a line-drawn face interrupted with rows of Chinese characters that allude to a sense of cultural malaise.
Amid the humor there also emerges a darker contrasting military-medical theme: images of barbed wire and knives coupled with sketched-on epaulettes taking the lead before being replaced by cartoonish bones and snakes paired around the caduceus in the second half of the show. Flashes of red, green and even the occasional rainbow shock the eye as models with painted-on manga eyes, flashing LED mouth grills and oversized skeletal gloves parade Zhe’s reimagining of baggy vests, mesh tees, boxers and hooded sweatshirts. As the prop hands grow increasingly cartoonish, models transform into walking animations in street shoes, the body itself becoming part of the graffiti sketch.
As China's fashion industry goes global, brands like Sankuanz are pioneering a mash-up of Eastern and Western style motifs representative of the youth of the day, creating in the process genuinely original takes on familiar looks.