Know Your Labels: Atea

Designers that deserve the megaphone treatment, volume four.


Coalescing alkaline with acid results in the two minerals having effectively cancelled each other out, much in the same way that coupling two adjectives with opposite meanings does.

But those couplets of words tend to be used when describing fashion collections. I’m thinking combinations like, “advanced youth,” “atrociously beautiful” and “boyish femininity.”

Often, too, they get lost on their audience. And why wouldn’t they, right? Fundamentally, they make no sense. It’s just that the collections that extract the sentences don’t function as just one thing. They fuse references and ideas and concepts from opposite ends of varying spectrums, throw them into a blender and present the physical manifestation of that which concludes the creative process.

Sometimes, there are no alternatives to the flowery idiosyncrasies, lest you resolve to show and not tell, which as determined earlier this week and thanks to the photo feature on an iPhone, doesn’t quite massage the descriptive muscle of a writer’s mind the way it used to.

Atea, a London based ready-to-wear label evinces the spirit of some of the aforementioned literary paradoxes in that it is elaborately minimal. It whispers to its wearer, but yells in the direction of projected confidence. It’s moderate luxury.

The label provides a smart and well constructed selection of clothing that functions as the bones of a woman’s wardrobe — the pillars that insouciantly keep it poised and afloat. There are pants and double breasted jackets. There are t-shirts and shorts and slip dresses and skirts but nothing is dramatic or exaggerated. If it’s not striped, it’s solid.

There are no tricks, nor are there caveats. The clothes are backlighters and yet, they’re striking. They don’t require compensatory prints or silhouettes. They stroke an urgency to continue discovering meaning in minimalism — not unlike the clothes of Phoebe Philo — but do so at a price point more digestible than the anterior’s without compromising attention to fabric.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the value in building a wardrobe of clothing that can’t be ruined by third-party interpretation.

You think about a dress that is in season. It’s bright and printed and no matter how much you loved it when you first locked eyes, the first time — sometimes the only time — you see it worn unfavorably-according-to-you, it’s ruined. It becomes irrevocably tainted by that image. Then you think about jeans, or a t-shirt or “the essentials” that make up a clean collection like that of Atea’s and how reliable they are because no matter how they’re worn by whoever wears them, doesn’t affect your relationship with the garments.

Of course, though, that means absolutely nothing about the sort of woman who decides to wear the clothes.

xXdDSs on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs[Shop Atea here.]

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