As the Jahnkoy presentation began, out walked warrior-styled men passing out a newspaper called “Displaced” with the headline “Crafting Revolution” and the slogan “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Then out marched clothing that was an elaborate mélange of cultural references. Some men came out stomping, twirling, and swinging their arms in a sort of cross-cultural representation of dance. It was electric. The collection was made up of recycled sportswear that has been re-cut and re-embellished. Thanks to Swarovski, some were adorned with crystal. Jahnkoy also collaborated with Puma, which inspired the collection—hats, headbands, sneakers were made in collaboration with the athletic brand.
The clothes were mostly inspired by Africana, but there were also Native American references, American sportswear, and streetwear influences. As far as the latter is concerned, the Jahnkoy collection seemed to add a new element to fashion’s current obsession with streetwear and felt like it could eventually receive the same kind of hype as a Hood By Air or Off-White. However, Jahnkoy has its own unique voice, and with fashion consultants like Julie Gilhart checking out the collection, this label felt poised for a breakthrough.
Siberian-born designer Maria Kazakova attended the British Higher School of Art and Design, Central Saint Martins, and then Parsons for a master’s program. “There was no space where I envisioned myself in existing brands,” said Kazakova. Her instincts served her well. The way that Jahnkoy incorporates cultural references from around the globe felt entirely new, and so is Kazakova’s approach. “Clothes is just a part of it,” she said. “It has a lot to do with the people who are wearing the clothes, and the sound and the set, where those clothes originated from.”
Post-show, a few of the models, still dressed in Jahnkoy, wandered into the Amazon lounge at Skylight. Suddenly, iPhones were whipped out practically in unison to capture the looks. Do the clothes make a statement? More like an in-your-face, visceral impact.