meet maisie schloss, the first designer in kanye west's incubator program
i-D talks to the YEEZY alum after the debut of her first womenswear collection, inspired by robotics and rhythmic gymnastics.
Photo by Sam Massey.
Last month, it was announced that Kanye West would launch an incubator program that would provide funding and mentorship to young creatives. The first recipient, Maisie Schloss, an LA-based designer and YEEZY alum, debuted her impressive womenswear line, Maisie Wilen, last week.
Inspired by robotics and rhythmic gymnastics, Schloss' pre-spring 2020 collection provides an out-of-this-world spin on classic pieces from skirt suits to bodycon midi-dresses. Eye-catching pieces, in bright shades of orange, red, and green, are juxtaposed against muted earth tones, whereas patterns and prints are layered and paired together perfectly. There is even a “color by number” t-shirt which encourages the wearer to get a bit more hands-on with their wardrobe. The collection, which is made up of 27 styles and 85 different items, is strikingly futuristic yet a certain air of nostalgia is weaved throughout. “I was drawn to rhythmic gymnastics and robotics both aesthetically and conceptually,” Schloss told i-D, “In my process I’m very regimented, systematic, even repetitive, yet my final product feels very organic and lighthearted, which mirrors the nature of the two inspirations.”
Schloss premiered her collection during an invite-only presentation at Night Gallery in Los Angeles. Models outfitted in the rising brand’s pieces were seamlessly integrated into a gallery setting complete with studio pedestals and artwork on the walls. Similar to her mentor’s style, Schloss was able to effortlessly blur the line between art and fashion. She also plans to bring the collection to Paris later this month.
Although each piece in the collection is distinct and unique in nature, a touch of YEEZY influence can still be found. This is no surprise as YEEZY has been an integral part of Schloss’ storied journey into fashion design. “I studied womenswear design at Parsons,” explained Schloss, “then after school got a job working at a mass market swimwear company where I learned about a lot of the fabrics I’m currently working with now.” From here, Schloss was hired as an assistant at YEEZY and then worked her way up to a womenswear design position. The West connection, however, does not end there. Schloss is a Chicago native, similar to West and his frequent collaborator Virgil Abloh. In fact, Abloh also recently started his own mentorship program — the multi-hyphenate collaborated with NikeLab to open a mentorship center in Chicago that is even offering free public workshops through the end of July.
When asked how the experience was of having Kanye West as a mentor, Schloss summed it up in two simple words: “Truly amazing.” “Kanye has been very supportive of me and really encouraged me to pursue my unique vision and aesthetic,” added Schloss, “Simply having the opportunity to observe Kanye working has been so valuable. In particular, I'm inspired by how his projects are so diverse yet all carry such strong vision.”