I’ve been intrigued by Maria Jahnkoy, who was born Maria Kazakova for some time now. The Siberian born designer who just showed her debut collection, “The Displaced” as part of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, has been “Crafting a Revolution” out of her Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn and let me tell you it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
Instead of staging a conventional runway show, Jahnkoy, which translates to “New Spirit Village” in the Crimean Tatar language, built a red-tinted set that re-created what she sees on a day-to-day basis and which in my mind called to mind a post apocalyptic city.. Is she trying to tell us something?
Maria cites a “sacred and spiritual” view of fashion as an inspiration for her work, as well as sustainable practices, using upcycled garments to form her creations. “The Displaced,” was a commentary on the fast-fashion industry’s production methods, which lead to excess clothes being dumped into Africa and the loss of artisan jobs.The designer hopes to present solutions for this problem with her new brand of spiritual sportswear.
Created entirely out of recycled fabrics and secondhand sportswear that she has sourced from her neighborhood, then re-cut and re-embellished with slogans, crystals and a melange of cultural references including African, Native American and Indian tendencies for dress. The attitude and energy of the collection is contagious, these really do feel like clothes to wear to a revolution. Add to this, a collaboration with Puma on a series of looks and beaded sneakers (yes please) and new ways with weave from recycled plastic bags that are crocheted and woven in.. “I wanted to show how companies can work with local artisans to promote craftsmanship.” We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Indeed.