A year after the VFiles Made Fashion shows began and two years behind the initial site launch, this summer Julie Anne Quay’s digital space infiltrated a new market, with its first physical fashion collection (here).
Referencing sportswear, the capsule line was predominantly jersey based with a primary palette of red, blue, yellow, black and white, adorned with bold branding, star shapes and ‘USA’ logos.
Explains VFiles Creative Director Zachary Ching, “SS14 was the first collection, but FW14 is the first fully realised incarnation. While its predecessor didn't necessarily help shape the current season, I think of VFSP as using each season as a stepping stone.”
“We're constantly refining the idea of the line as a whole,” he continues, “Everything is an exercise in learning what works for the brand. VFSP is a liquid concept. It's what makes designing it so enjoyable.”
Much like VFiles itself then, which straddles several arenas (as well as the site and shows there’s both a concrete shop and an ecommerce store), the founding of each has been noted across the web via various interviews, most plainly described as a natural progression of what came before; an on-going series of happy coincidences.
Formerly a part of team Opening Ceremony, Ching creates the new line alongside designer Erin Magee: the Creative Director behind MadeMe and Head of Production at Supreme for over a decade.
For the current collection – in-store and online now – the pair looked at English football and straight edge iconography; “While it’s a somewhat unorthodox pairing,” notes Ching, “I think it works so well together. The power that surrounds sports and the youthful energy of underground culture are an unstoppable combination.”
The resulting garments include ankle length coats (silver puffas and baby pink coach jackets), nylon skirts and shorts (pre-layered over leggings), faux fur and tight body suits, the latter already of ‘as seen on’ status courtesy of one Willow Smith.
“It was a risky concept but I couldn't be more proud of the result,” Zachary confirms, referring to the clash of influences. Indeed, on paper, the football kit as a fashion moment is a theme presumably hard to interpret beyond specific seasonal press, the World Cup for example.
But it works; the colours are bright and inviting, shapes are kept simple, echoing the pieces that you can imagine make up the rest of a VFiles fan’s wardrobe, styles feel modern albeit referencing the past. On top of this there is the transatlantic thing; for once, instead of a British label throwing out a college themed varsity jacket, here is an American brand delving into the Sunday League.
Was there anything the pair dreamt up that didn’t make the cut? “Yes, so many things, lol. I think that always happens; I think the most successful brands or designers are the best editors. The designers who have the ethic to cancel something or completely re-vamp it before the rest of the world sees it always have the best collections.”
Ching knows of what he speaks: ahead of his creative role he was initially approached for his retail know how which later saw him head up the VFiles store in New York. The first brand they stocked was Hood By Air, a success story in itself.
He labels the Positive Youth Coach Jacket his favourite of the collection, declaring it “a brooding piece that’s borderline goth,” adding of the full line, “It’s these juxtapositions that run through the collection that I love the most I think. Obliterating expectations.”
Further exploring the British connection, the accompanying look book was shot over here by London based stylist Anna Trevelyan and photographer Sam Bayliss Ibram; the flag of St George appears in the background of one shot, while the rest are undeniably England.
Was this the intention? Absolutely we’re told. “Anna is VFiles fam, she styles all of the VFiles Made Fashion shows and also styled the SS14 campaign. When we decided to shoot our campaign in London it was a no brainer to use her again. We chose Sam because of his talent for capturing youth.”
Youth being the nucleus of everything VFiles does, whether it be the age of a member or the development stage of an idea.
“At VFiles we’re just the most diehard fans of fashion!” Zachary exclaims when pushed on how important it is for the clothing line to represent the brand. “Our community really wanted to represent the VFiles brand itself, not just the brands we carry. (VFiles) consists of all these parts working in concert with one another, so VFSP is the latest piece to jump in.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield