For cult Lower East Side artist Clayton Patterson, collaborating with designer Siki Im was a natural fit. Patterson’s work in embroidery requires a certain level of craftsmanship, it’s hands on and impossible to mass produce — one guy in Jersey is overseeing each individual stitch.
“That’s a big part of [Siki’s] aesthetic, is the craftsmanship,” says Patterson. “I know his style and his look, he has that sort of Asian, almost martial arts, kind of working people’s clothing, and high fashion, so it was an honor for me to work with him.”
Im’s all black collection receives punches of hyper bright colors — all Patterson’s own threads — done, as Patterson mentioned, by his guy in New Jersey. Patterson, along with his partner Elsa Rensaa, has been using this artisanal chainstitch embroidery method as a social commentary on the changes and gentrification of the neighborhood. This is their folk art.
“It’s interesting because [Siki’s designs are] sort of pre industrial in a way. This kind of embroidery is more like a craft, like folk art. Nowadays things are most things are all computer and are sort of just mass manufactured. This is a lot of hands on, craftsmanship, individually made,” said Patterson.
The two were introduced by a mutual friend who put together a recent show of Patterson’s on 9th Avenue, when Patterson and Im realized they had similar interests in the Lower East Side, skaters, hardcore bands, and Patterson’s LES imagery. The collaboration kicked off from there.
“Siki’s clothes remind me of traditional Asian clothes. I think that combination of ideas of ancestors, antique, preindustrial craftsmanship, handmade, all of that is part of this whole aesthetic.”
Siki Im’s collection is, as usual, completed in only natural materials. Cashmere, wool, cotton, and silk from Japan and Italy in all black allow Patterson’s vivid chainstitch embroideries to really pop and speak on Im’s collarless, lapel-less designs. Oversized, and cropped wide trousers paired with kimono overcoats, and crew necks with elongated sleeves create new, super elegant silhouettes. There’s an ease of movement to Im’s designs that allow the wearer total control over his immediate environment. The clothes speak for themselves as always, but this season they’re saying something extra.
Images courtesy of Siki Im