NYFW: Who Decides War Spring/Summer 2021 Collection

Ev Bravado and Tela D’Amore’s Who Decides War SS2021 collection— titled “A Still Small Voice”—takes us on a journey as models ascend upon various elements of nature. The name of the collection was inspired by 1 Kings 19:11-13, a passage in the bible that explores elements including wind, rocks and fire—as well as natural disasters and landforms as the Lord passes by. Elijah, a prophet, steps into the mouth of a cave, and the lord questions why he is there.

The production opens with views of water, mountains and greenery as all of nature’s rhythms sound off. Various men are seen walking through the forest, a waterfall and a cobblestone castle. “We chose the castle because of its grandness, its serenity,” say Bravado and D’Amore. “The idea behind it is that every person within it is making their way to a central place, arriving with a peaceful disposition and in wonderment. We wanted to imagine an escape from everything going on in the world at large, even if for a moment, just watching this film. We wanted to create something that opened the conversation of royalty and Black youth.”

Accompanying the sounds of the earth is a spoken-word poem written and orated by rapper Joey Badass. “Who decides war if neither side is wrong? Whose world can this be if none of us are wrong?” he says, as the camera pans in on a man on the steps wearing a cream-colored layered shirt, a leather-paneled vest, a two-tone brown split pant and a hat. “Who’s to be blamed for the storms, if not the face and the reflection of the puddles when they eventually calm? A still, small voice,” Joey Badass continues, as a man looks out to the water, wearing a deconstructed cream knit and jeans that repeat “Who Decides War” along the leg.

Another man paces on the interior steps, wearing a deconstructed green sweater over a white shirt, deconstructed denim with embroidered suns, and a camo-and-lace bucket hat. “Life is but a ripple effect/I guess every experience like a drop of water/If I had a nickel cap for every dark I manifest/I’d still be in my divine order. A still, small voice,” Joey Badass continues, as a man runs up the steps wearing a side-split sweater with embroidered images of the church mosaic, deconstructed denim and a floral hat.

A group of men stand staggered on the rocks, wearing the looks already seen and additional looks featuring a blue sweater with a fiery American flag—as Joey Badass continues narrating about the places his mind wonders. Soon after, three men in deconstructed patchwork denim and oversized poncho looks appear in the forest. As they depart, more men descend—following the theme of unconventional stitched and embroidered denim, patchwork, denim hats and back-split jackets. 

The first woman is revealed as the camera pans from her standing in the water to a closeup of her face. She wears an olive one-shoulder ruched and pocketed floor-length dress. Her presence marks the debut of the brands’ women’s looks. More women ascend in the scenery, wearing ruche and lace shirts that highlight the face and hands plus lace and embroidered denim.

The film concludes with Joey Badass’ last stanza: “We all exist in between reality and a dream. What does it really mean to say what you mean? We reap what you sew, like it’s woven into our jeans. A still, small voice can make the biggest impact with just the right words. Every man is a shepherd, like lost sheep dying to be heard. A still, small voice.”

The Who Decides War SS2021 collection in its entirety includes denim, canvas, Egyptian cotton, leather and lace craft. It features stained-glass arch silhouettes, to translate their connection to salvation and to today’s climate.

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