Above, watch the submission video for the 2018 OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards from Brooklyn-based designer, Kevin Jaedon.
The 3rd Annual OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards, presented by Lexus, is our search for the next talented designer on the cutting edge of fashion. Three of the fashion industry's top emerging design talent will vie to win a six-week mentorship to design a capsule collection for Parke & Ronen, be featured in an upcoming issue of OUT, and be named the 2018 OUT Fashion Vanguard.
From his studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, designer Kevin Jaedon defines his personal style by having the confidence to take how you feel on the inside, and express it on the outside. He finds inspiration in the queer community to create fashion that encourages its wearer to be unapologetic about who they are. We caught up with Kevin as he was building his collection to debut this Wednesday night at the 2018 OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards in New York City.
OUT: Congrats on being picked as one of just three designer finalists! How does it feel to compete for the title of the 2018 OUT Fashion Vanguard?
Kevin Jaedon: Most of my design background comes from designing for other brands, so it feels incredible to have my first solo collection recieve recognition. I'm also feeling a cornucopia of emotions: excitement, grateful, anxious, and hungry, but mostly I'm focused, galvanized, and ready to win.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you find your voice as a designer?
I've been working as a menswear designer for over seven years. For the past five years, I've been the designer for iconic NYC brand, Nastypig. I was very fortunate in that the owners, David Lauterstien and Frederick Kearney, allowed me the freedom to explore who I was as a designer and push the boundaries of what a "gay" brand could do. I learned a lot about my own design sensibility and was constantly challenged to grow.
Above, a selection of sketches from Kevin Jaedon's portfolio and design submission.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from your collection when it hits the runway?
This collection is about being unapologetic about all the aspects of yourself, particularly regarding masculine/feminine energies and sexuality. In the clothing, I want to combine feminine and masculine elements to create something new and powerful.
For the wearer, I want strength and confidence to come from embracing both ends of the masculine/feminine spectrum, because there is such beauty and power in both. In terms of something more concrete, I'd probably say it looks like "Black Party, but make it fashion."
Part of your design challenge is to take inspiration from our presenting sponsor, Lexus, in particular the uncompromising Lexus LC and the visionary Lexus LS. Can you give us a preview of how your collection will integrate the bold, thoughtful, and imaginative principles that Lexus uses to create amazing luxury vehicles?
This was my favorite part of the challenge. Most of my design references come from streetwear, where logo-mania is huge, so I definitely took inspiration from the distinctive Lexus logo. I was also looking at the use of inverted and repeating "L's" in the LC grille and was inspired by the pattern it created. So I went out and found a very stiff similar-looking mesh, and I plan on integrating that into a fun silhouette. Finally, I also chose one of the key fabrics in the collection because it is reminiscent of motor oil.
We find that sometimes the most vibrant and cutting edge designs come from LGBTQ designers. How has your identity as a member of this community influenced your work?
By being a member of the LGBTQ community, it's hard not to look around and be inspired. I draw inspiration from circuit boys, club kids and drag queens.
Finally, anything else you would like us or our readers to know before you debut your collection at the 2018 OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards event on July 25?
While I'm still glad Trixie won, Shangela should have been top two. But seriously, I want everyone to know how grateful I am to get this opportunity to show my work. I can't wait to turn stunts, shows, and shenanigans on Wednesday!