O.N.S X ABASI ROSBOROUGH: Digital Nomad
Fashion, as in many other disciplines, requires newness and fresh ideas to keep things from getting stale and repetitive. This can be tricky in menswear, because let’s face it, guys aren’t really into experimenting, or deviating too far from their tried and tested staples. In this regard, New York City-based design duo ABASI ROSBOROUGH is a much-needed entity. Their ability for creating forward-looking, architectural, anatomic-themed designs along with their highly-attuned conceptual approach is a true novelty in today’s industry. It was both an inspiring and educational experience working with Greg and Abdul for our Creative Lab collaboration. The capsule we created together is titled “Digital Nomad,” and you can read more about it below.
Can you briefly tell us about the overarching brand aesthetic of ABASI ROSBOROUGH?
Greg Rosborough: The brand aesthetic is derived from a combination of studying the human body, studying architecture, and incorporating sport in military elements, all under the guise of tailoring.
Abdul Abasi: The overarching brand aesthetic of ABASI ROSBOROUGH is the convergence of military precision, activewear, and flexible tailoring. we design clothes for the body to navigate the modern landscape.
The O.N.S X ABASI ROSBOROUGH collection is themed “Digital Nomad” – can you please elaborate on what this means, and how did that concept inform the different pieces you created?
GR: Digital Nomad is the modern workforce. It’s the idea of being unchained from a desk or a cubicle and having the flexibility to travel around the world with simply a computer and Internet connection and do your work. As far as the pieces that we designed, we made them functional, versatile, lightweight, packable, and with the carrying capacity. All designed with the idea of the modern worker, digital nomad, in mind.
AA: The Digital Nomad, describes the modern creative class. By utilizing social media, networking and the theory of connectivity they are able to roam free and access information. The collection illustrates this notion of the Digital Nomad, by creating clothes that are multi functional, environmentally adaptive, lightweight and urban.
What are your personal favorite pieces in the O.N.S X ABASI ROSBOROUGH collection?
GR: My favorite pieces in the collaboration are the parkas. They are statement pieces, especially the one in neon, and I like the idea of wearing flags on the sleeve. The sleeves flags to me represent thinking globally, being open minded, and working across borders, and there’s also something very primitive about the idea of flags, and the patriotism that they speak to — and I like that.
AA: My favorite piece in the collection is the nomad vest. To me it signifies the perfect convergence of function and form. I love that the piece allows for free range of motion in the arms, and also that it has a large back pocket for storage.
There was also an “E-Waste” message you wanted to tell with this capsule – please explain…
GR: The tie-in of e-waste came from thinking about what the digital nomad uses, computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. We think that part of the responsibility of all this connectivity is being mindful of how you discard your tech products. We wanted to show what that waste actually looks like — what a mountain of discarded Apple computers looks like — it’s a reminder to everyone, including ourselves, that we don’t need to go out and buy something new every time it comes out. You can reuse things, and when you are finally done with them, you can recycle them.
AA: It was important to discuss the topic of e-waste in regards to digital nomad. Typically consumers upgrade their electronics every few years, with no knowledge on where these items end up. By shedding light on the aftermath of our consumption hopefully people will be more mindful with the purchases.
Functionality and anatomic design are recurring themes in your creations – why are these concepts so important to you?
GR: I think our design process at the core of it is about humanism. And to me that means thinking about the human body and coming up with solutions to simple problems that allow the body to perform in society today. So that might mean that pockets or carrying straps are designed a little bit better than the next garment, which means that to the person wearing that garment, their life is just a little bit easier and they can focus on what they want to do as opposed to worrying about if their garments can accommodate what they’re trying to do.
AA: As designers, you are first and foremost problem solvers. As apparel designers, your utmost concern should be how clothing interacts with the body. For us that entails researching movement and investigating materials to provide clothing the enhances the wearer’s state of being. These concepts are important to us because at it core it shows empathy and care for our fellow man.
What are some of the major pros and cons of being emerging, progressive designers in NYC?
GR: I’ll start with the downside first. The con of being an emerging, progressive designer in New York is that you’re vulnerable. There are so many elements of the business to try to pull together –from getting fabric, to getting things made, to shooting them well, to telling a story — and all of that wears on you because you don’t have a massive team to help you with it, it’s on you day in and day out to execute. But on the upside, the pros of being an emerging, progressive designer is that you get to take all of those things that you learned in school and all those dreams that you had from childhood on up and you get to realize them into reality. Things that you dream up and sketch out, become tangible garments that you see people wearing on the subway. And that’s an amazing feeling, as well as the independence of it all, and the freedom of expression. I played sports growing up and am a competitive person, and so I think of fashion like a game, where all of the various brands are different teams, and that makes me work harder and I really enjoy that.
AA: The beauty of being an independent designer is the ability to dream an idea and create the reality. But the reality of business is deadlines, logistics, sales targets, infrastructure,planning. marketing,production,capital and debt. The secret to success is in balancing the art and commerce.
At this point your brand is still relatively niche – do you have any plans for expanding your offerings and global reach in the coming years?
GR: The goal is definitely not to stay small and niche forever, this is just our starting point, based here in New York and we’re getting off the ground and picking up steam. Our plans are to grow ABASI ROSBOROUGH to a point where it’s globally accessible for all.
AA: The plan for ABASI ROSBOROUGH is to grow the brand to be a global force. We want to create design that enhances the lives of everyone and that is accessible to anyone who wants to use our garments.