celebrating twenty years of ymc
Marking two decades of quiet creation, YMC step out of the shadows and take centre stage with their latest beat.
As whispers of Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo and Anthony Vaccarello whizz and whirl around the industry's ever quickening merry-go-round, it's refreshing to pause and celebrate an example of comforting continuity. Since its inception in 1995, YMC have slowly and surely evolved beyond the noise of fashion's fanfare. Where others have concerned themselves with the fleeting hype of now, Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins have concentrated their joint efforts in simply allowing form to follow function. Forever urged on by Raymond Loewy's emphatic injunction, "You must create," they do just that and for autumn/winter 16, YMC marked its twentieth anniversary in signature style.
Given the occasion, they would be forgiven for merely playing a 'Best Of' but instead of remixed classics, we were taken on a transatlantic journey through underground music. "We do plan on creating an archive but I didn't want to look back here… I've always preferred looking forwards," Fraser Moss explains. "It's nice to remind people that we're still here because the fashion industry is a rat race at times but ultimately, it was more about the music referencing our twenty year journey and exploring how bands and scenes inspire us. I got into fashion through music anyway, it's always been my first love." With an energetic performance from a specially commissioned band, the audience were immersed in this love affair. "Parallelogram are sort of an underground indie supergroup with members of Toy, SCUM and ex-members Bad Meat. I gave the band a few ideas but until today, I had no idea what it was going to be and they've blown my mind. I got into fashion through music anyway, it's always been my first love and in a way, it calmed me here because over the course of the day I was just listening to the guys play," Fraser adds excitedly. Backed by the beat of Parallelogram, the clothes, beautifully tailored, ingeniously understated and full of hidden details, were allowed to sing for themselves.
"This collection started out as a jigsaw and that's how we've always designed. The nomadic vibe was referencing The Incredible String Band and the aesthetics of Turkish psych groups from the late 60s because they just encapsulated that look, they were travelling musicians as such. Ultimately, it's a celebration of the counter-culture that we've long been drawn to."
In some hands, such a celebration would end up feeling like dress-up but despite retro-gazing mood boards and a studio filled with the sound of crackling vinyl, YMC always roots itself in the now. "It always has to be modern, it has to work for today," Fraser notes. That is the real secret of YMC's success. With Fraser itching to get back to his music, I ask him what the last two decades have taught him. "To never rest on your laurels. We've ridden ups and downs throughout our careers, so don't get too excited when you're up, instead keep the hunger and always push on. And don't forget to have fun because we're extremely privileged to do this."
Text Steve Salter
Lead image Derrick Santin
Photography Trinity Ellis