By Bee Beardsworth
This past year (well, dragging into 15 months at this point) has been tough for everyone. Whilst the onset of the pandemic has affected us all indeterminately, it has posed a specific set of challenges to the world of events and live music. Parties - a space that once offered an opportunity for both connection and catharsis - were put on hold. As the world opens up, albeit tentatively and on constantly shifting parameters, we are witnessing first-hand the innovative ways that music, fashion and media-focused brands are using the past year’s adversity as a springboard from which to create avant-garde methods of working with both the interpersonal and the internet.
One of these brands is MCQ. During the pandemic, the self described “new label, built on collaboration”, an offshoot of the infamous Alexander McQueen, reshaped their online space from that of a simple online store. MYMCQ launched as a members-only site where anyone can sign up for online access to view their multiple collections (which they call “icons”), as well as their feed. This feed is a continuation of what MCQ does in their icons - creating clothing from a petri-dish of both tangible and less tangible inspirations, interweaving material, shape and texture with cultural relevance, multi-sensory awareness and iconographic philosophy.
A huge part of this brand’s DNA is born from the individuals that MCQ collaborate with on each drop. Instead of having a hierarchical creative team, MCQ creates each collection with a creative assemblage. These seasonal drops, each with their own attention grabbing names such as Fantasma and Genesis II are brought to life by sort of reverse muses - individuals or companies that the MCQ team choose to embody their vision. By directly collaborating with the individuals that inspire them, as opposed to screen grabbing their feeds and blatantly copying them without credit (*cough cough* every other big fashion brand), MCQ is displaying respectful and reciprocal methods towards drawing inspiration from the individuality that is currently defining the influencer-based consumer scene. These manifestations have ranged from poet and MSM Issue 1 cover star James Massiah to artist Sang Woo to company Pantone Colour Institute. MYMCQ’s feed acts as a sort of blog, expanding on this cultural zeitgeist and trying to do what many brands are failing at - enmeshing their need to create desirable products with a creative community and platform that pays due diligence to democratic cultural accelerationism. They even enlisted me to write a piece for them.
For MCQ’s latest icon, EDEN HIGH, the brand enlisted the creative assistance of photographer Grace Ahlbom, and 3D designer Albert Omoss, amongst others. On the 18th June, MCQ launched EDEN HIGH with an event in LA, tapping into their global network of talent. The event featured performances of musician EDEN HIGH collaborator Deb Never and her curated musical lineup of friends - namely Hook, Lecx Stacy, and DJ sets from Yves Tumor and Liv.e. Deb Never’s performance was beamed globally via another portal of collaboration, one resonating with MCQ’s British roots; the NTS YouTube, a global radio station founded in Hackney, London.
Bridging the gap between online and offline, the event gave us a taste of what the MCQ world holds in store for us post-pandemonium. Watch this space to see how MCQ continues to intertwine our ever evolving realities, and show other brands the way forward navigating the epochal cultural landscape.