COMMON GENDER: Secret Codes

We did everything we could. We hired the most unsubtle sound-system in Berlin and hauled the heavy black speakers up four stories into our friends’ apartment. We set up a bar. We put mattresses on the floor in every room and pushed the rest of our belongings up against the walls. Music matters to us more than anything, so we warned the neighbors that it was going to be loud. We had been dreaming about having our own festival all summer and this was going to be our inner-city trial run. But as the sun sank lower and the evening moved in we started wondering if anyone would come.

“The moment at which a piece of music begins provides a clue to the nature of all art,” wrote the late radical art critic John Berger in “The Moment of Cubism.” “The incongruity of that moment, compared to the uncounted, unperceived silence which preceded it, is the secret of art.” COMMON GENDER exists within an instance of collective apprehension. In a shoot by Berlin-based photographer Hendrick Schneider, and styled by Klaus Stockhausen, we find our not-quite-feral youth in a dizzy buzz of nervous anticipation. Texting. Giggling. Making adjustments. The sun is setting in Kreuzberg and nobody has showed up to the party – yet. It’s the moment in which COMMON GENDER, the upstart brand launched in 2018 fusing classic menswear silhouettes with streetwear attitude, feels at home. It’s the ride to the music festival, when tensions settle as a composite of possibility – the wind-up before the bang. 

“These memories are the secret codes we share and the private property we own.” COMMON GENDER’s Spring Summer 2019 collection features washed tie-dye denim, neon color-soaked sportswear, lightweight rain jackets, tracksuit tops, and Cuban collared shirts. It’s rave-ready, outdoor-inflected apparel that channels the musical and counter-cultural energy of the 1960s and updates it with polychrome bursts of orange, red, and blue. Breathable thermostatic elements and temperature-sensing UV-resistant fabrics provide the technical structure that underpins the collection. “Got a lighter?” reads a text printed on one t-shirt. It is this utilitarian applicability that defines the clothes of the fledgling brand: they will be worn, worn in, and take on a life of their own when that illusive moment arrives and the party ignites.

Explore further at commongender.com.

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