Mexican designer Antonio Zaragoza called his brand Liberal Youth Ministry as a nod to his interest in youth cultures and movements. True to a teenager’s ability to change moods and tastes in no time, he swapped the bright, upbeat tones of his previous collection for a more moody proposition in his Paris debut.
Cue “Liberal Youth Foundation,” a fall collection that Zaragoza described as dark. Not like in evil, mind. “Just like the comfortable way of being in the dark in a spiritual way,” he added, explaining that he was looking back to the brand’s roots and its “passion for being punk, not in the subculture of the 70s, but as a philosophy “to rebel against the system.
The one he’s fighting against? Systematic industrial mass production. Hence the emphasis on craftsmanship throughout a grungy collection where most looks featured distressing, hand tooling or the addition of spikes – a nod to the his teenager’s “primitive way of thinking about fashion”, i.e. destroying clothes.
The set looked like a box of children’s clothes, a hodgepodge of well-worn clothes discarded by older siblings, clown costumes, and random oddities like 3D-printed crowns and cartoonish bulletproof vests. . Closer inspection revealed some great leather motorcycle jackets; well-cut neoprene suits printed with “Black Swans” in a Goosebumps-meets-indie-rock font; faux shredding kicks in collaboration with Phileo, another Dover Street Market Paris protege, and a procession of faded denim and sweats, all cut a little too chunky, to telegraph the idea of lanky teenagers.
And if it ever occurred to you that all of this could be achieved with vintage finds and elbow grease, this is the kind of ultimate punk gesture that Zaragoza would approve of.