JAPANESE SUPERSTAR KEMIO MAKES HIS MARK ON AMERICAN FASHION
Thank you CFDA for the article on our VF$N host, Kemio!
While Kemio might look like your average high-fashion New Yorker, you might be surprised to know he has already managed to achieve superstar status in his native country Japan. He first achieved social media stardom on Vine while in high school, but fast forward and today, the social media phenom commands an audience of millions across all platforms.
The digital talent has now his eyes set on the U.S., where he has lived since 2016. Since moving, he has gained a fast following and collaborated with a number of high-profile brands, sitting front-row on the runway at Marc Jacobs and Dior, for example. He even virtually attended our CFDA Awards red carpet last year.
Kemio is now embarking on his biggest project yet – taking on a role as the host of the new VFILES Shopping Network show, where he will showcase up-and-coming talent across creative fields of art, music, and fashion.
ICYMI! Our first popshop live show from 12 Mercer – hosted by Kemio! 1. Download the @popshoplive app through the App Store or on Popshoplive.com 2. Register your account and sign up with the code VFILES 3. Tune in THURSDAY @ 5 PM EST/ 2 PM PST to shop our curated NYC young and upcoming brands LIVE FROM HOME ON @popshoplive #vfiles #popshoplive
THE VFILES SHOPPING NETWORK IS BACK AND COMING TO @popshoplive !!! Hosted by the one & only @mmkemio live from 12 Mercer!️Make sure you download Popshop live with the code: VFILES for our first livestream April 22nd @ 5PM ESTFashion. Music. Tech. Culture. WE’LL SELL IT. If you want your brand to be apart of this EPIC experience email email@example.com or DM us ️OWN THE CULTURE YOU CREATE. ️A percentage of all sales will go to funding future VFILES LAB grants
About eight years after debuting on YouTube, the online fashion series has relaunched with a new host, new look, and a new cause, as VFILES has transitioned from a for-profit retailer to a nonprofit organization. The original show was hosted by Danielle Greco and aimed to promote the items available at the VFILES SoHo boutique and online. It also featured then-rising designers like Telfar Clemens and Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver.
Set to air multi-hour shows Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET live from VFILES’ Mercer Street location, the reboot will be hosted by 25-year-old influencer Kemio. It’ll continue to showcase up-and-coming talent across various creative fields, including art, music, and, of course, fashion. The set was designed by director/production designer Griffin Stoddard, who has worked with names like Kym Petrus, Comme de Garcons, Gucci, and Vogue.
Proceeds from the series will go toward the featured designers as well as the VFILES LAB program, a nonprofit incubator the benefits emerging creatives.
THANK YOU COMPLEX for the article on our VFILES LAB001 recipient, Saeedah Haque!
Muslim streetwear designer Saeedah Haque, who recently unveiled her new collection at the VFILES LAB show, is aiming to use her work to normalize the traditional Abaya garment.
Her namesake brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection features what the designer describes as a reimagining of the Abaya with military elements.
“Trump’s America saw the rise of Islamophobia and continued misunderstanding of Muslim women, especially those that are visually Muslim and often the target of hate,” Haque said of the collection. “Combining the unapologetic attitude of the next generation with the traditional Abaya garment that millions of young Muslim girls wear, SH aims to uplift women who wear the Hijab with streetwear incorporating oversized silhouettes, bold colors, and long hemlines.”
The inaugural VFILES LAB Show—which spotlights the recipients of a $10,000 grant made possible by the nonprofit VFILES Foundation—took place earlier this month on VEEPS, a streaming platform whose co-founders include Good Charlotte brothers Joel and Benji Madden.
Billed as the first label to reinvent the Abaya garment into “utilitywear with street sensibility,” Saeedah Haque is a ready-to-wear brand curated in London. The label’s creations draw influences from the founder’s South Asian heritage and the portrayal of Muslim identity, with Hague seeking to voice an “unapologetic approach to design” while also making the reclaiming of the narrative a key part of the label’s mission.
See select pieces from Saeedah Haque’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection below. And for more info, including how to shop, click here.
Last fall, the VFILES Foundation CEO Julie Anne Quay announced new measures to highlight budding creatives. Part of this new push to create more opportunities for the young creative community includes a new initiative called VFILES Lab. The program gives seven finalists access to education and mentorship through an intensive 10-week program. This year’s show was held digitally on April 9th and the finalists were selected from over 700 submissions. Among the selected was Joshua Mudgett who presented his custom AI fashion company, Chimera. For this project, Mudgett collaborated with singer-songwriter Abby Jasmine to bring the concept to life. Jasmine is known for her hit single Relax and recently came out with Who Cares? (Deluxe). Bursting with color and texture, Jasmine designs for this VFILES LAB001 show included strappy neon bralettes, utilitarian hoodie vests, and orange-lined leather pants. In one design, her model (who can be best described as a cross between a human and purple cyborg) strutted down the pastel pink sky runway in an orange-black tracksuit with green side panels. This is the singer’s first foray into the fashion world, but if this show is any indication, it’s only the beginning.
Read our conversation with VFILES Lab recipient Joshua Mudgett and his collaborator Abby Jasmine here:
V MAGAZINE: Hi Abby! Congrats on your work with VFILES Lab – What does it feel like to be a part of the show, especially as a native New Yorker?
ABBY JASMINE: For me, this is such a full-circle moment! VFILES is such a big part of the culture and also a big part of my own personal memories as a New Yorker. I remember being a teenager and going to see Lil Yachty perform there back in 2016, along with trips from Staten Island just to go hang out across the street from the store and smoke – then being able to attend the fashion show in 2019 front row. I feel like my subconscious manifested this moment for me.
V: Joshua, what about you?
JOSHUA MUDGETT: Being part of the VFILES Lab is really great. VFILES is so iconic and to be with them at the precipice of this new chapter is an honor.
V: Yeah it’s so exciting. Joshua, I understand the VFILES Lab Show involves an intensive 10 weeks incubation program. Can you bring us through those 10 weeks? What did you do and what was that experience like?
JM: It was like having a fire under me to push myself and my work, with some of the most plugged-in and intelligent people in the game. During the 10 weeks, VFILES gives us mentorship, guest speakers, and opens up their fabulous Rolodex. I spent the time developing Chimera as a business, registering patents, building a business plan, and finally creating the show for the finale.
V: What did you set out to do with this collection?
AJ: I wanted to create something that was sexy, cute, but also comfortable. I wanted something that I myself would wear. Something that can be worn for casual occasions yet can also be dressed up if needed.
V: How was it working with Joshua Mudgett? What was the process of designing an AI collection?
AJ: Josh made everything super easy and was so great to work with. All I had to do was tell the AI what type of clothing I was looking to make, color schemes, things I liked, etc. and it did all the work, so I can’t take too much credit.
V: Joshua, what was it like working with Abby? Were you a fan of her work prior to this project?
JM: This was my first introduction to Abby Jasmine, which I’m actually really grateful for because I got to learn about her and her personal brand alongside Chimera. She gave us unique inputs that I honestly didn’t expect, and was one of the first to test the waters for wearable outputs from Chimera. I’ve definitely become a fan, she’s such a delight to work with.
V: What is Chimera?
JM: Chimera is a first-of-its-kind VAE-GAN that has been trained to design clothing for brands and individuals, outputting an edited 3D model and the 2D flat patterns to sew the garment. It’s been designed to work similar to a real designer, taking inputs such as mood board images and text inputs from the user describing their style.
V: Abby, did you have a particular client or consumer in mind when designing?
AJ: People like me, who wanna be cozy and fly at the same time. With this project, I kind of approached it almost like I would making a song. I wouldn’t write a song I wouldn’t listen to myself, just like I wouldn’t help design clothes I wouldn’t wear. I can confidently say I would wear every single piece from this line.
V: In the past, Abby graced us with your music, specifically your album, Who Cares? and corresponding visuals, but I’m wondering how does fashion let you express another creative side of yourself?
AJ: Fashion lets me show my variety of moods. There are some days I feel bummy, some days I feel like the baddest b*tch in the world, some days when I feel in between, and there’s an outfit for each of those situations.
V: Finally, what role do you guys think AI will play in fashion in the future?
AJ: I can see AI’s working alongside designers, almost like a personal assistant.
JM: I think AI is the natural progression for the design industry as a whole, not just fashion. For fashion, in particular, it’s an industry that has been pretty much stuck in the same technological rut since the industrial era. People can put LED’s or NFC chips in dresses and call it fashion-tech, but in my opinion, the next great thing in fashion will be something that can redesign our current design methods. AI alone can double the speed of design as well as fix problems like overproduction, design accessibility, manufacturing accountability. It will definitely play a huge role in the future of fashion, so long as people can understand it’s not iRobot and won’t take their job.
The inaugural VFILES Lab class also includes Bolor Amgalan and Boris Brésil, Cakes Da Killa, Jaylin Kim and Nikolai Artemev, Julian Soto, Rashaad Strong, and Saeedah Haque.
The VFiles Foundation, the 100 percent nonprofit that was formerly a retailer, is holding its first VFiles Lab Show on April 9. It will be livestreamed on its streaming platform, Veeps.
The biannual VFiles Lab picks up the baton from VFiles Runway, VFiles’ previous platform to showcase and mentor emerging talent. The foundation’s flagship program provides seed grants, mentorship and soft skills training, and selected Lab Members will each receive a $10,000 grant and participate in a 10-week incubation program. Tickets for the VFiles Lab Show are available now for $5 on Veeps and grants access to the livestream for 24 hours after the show date. All contributions will be donated to the VFiles Foundation, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to future Lab grant recipients.
The April show will feature seven winners — Bolor Amgalan and Boris Brésil, Cakes Da Killa, Jaylin Kim and Nikolai Artemev, Joshua Mudgett, Julian Soto, Rashaad Strong, and Saeedah Haque — who have designed collections and also created platforms and short films.
Amgalan and Brésil created Faberium, a digitization platform and curated marketplace for artisanal NFTs; musician Cakes Da Killa wrote and starred in “Visibility Sucks,” a short film directed by Miles Warren and Luca Silveira about an artist’s struggle to maintain identity in a pandemic; Kim and Artemev created “thought wear” brand Profet; Mudgett developed Chimera, an artificial intelligence program that custom designs garments in 2D and 3D flat patterns; Soto created sonic/ visual journey Shake; Strong developed e-commerce marketplace Acres focused on developing communities with a b-to-b profit-sharing model to help emerging brands, and Haque founded namesake utilitywear label Saeedah Haque. VIEW GALLERY
“As we build the foundation, we have defined our thesis to this: to own the culture you create, you must own the economics,” said VFiles founder Julie Anne Quay. “The key lever for sustainable wealth creation, especially for underrepresented communities, is business and IP ownership, and we’ve refined our program scope as such.”
Quay launched the VFiles Foundation in 2020 in response to youth’s call to action for social justice. She opened VFiles in 2012 on Mercer Street in New York City’s SoHo and it became a new hub for the downtown fashion, music and art communities. The store is currently being renovated and is expected to reopen next month with all 100 percent of all sales going to Lab winners.
VFiles Runway platform also grew to become a large event with celebrity appearances and performances such as rapper 21 Savage and Rico Nasty and YG in September 2019 that was held in collaboration with Depop.
VFILES, the digital creative platform, now launches as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization called VFILES FOUNDATION with the mission to increase business ownership for creators in underrepresented communities. Announced last fall, VFILES Lab is the incubator program that received hundreds of submissions with the promise of a $10,000 grant, 10-week mentorship program, and a spot to showcase their work at the VFILES LAB 001 event taking place this Friday, April 9th at 12 PM PST on VEEPS.
The runway show meets live stream will fuse music, technology, and fashion while showcasing the handpicked seven LAB grant winners’ innovative and original ideas. Headliners to perform include rapper IDK, who recently announced his Harvard Music Business Course, and R&B darling Sabrina Claudio who will perform with her band for the first time in 2021. A genuinely innovative display of upcoming talent in each sector, Flaunt gives you a rundown of the new talent sure to disrupt the world.
On the tech meets fashion sector, LAB finalist Joshua Mudgett will present CHIMERA, a first-of-its-kind custom fashion artificial intelligence capable of designing custom garments in 3D and 2D flat patterns. Musicians Dorian Electra, Abby Jasmine, and Dallas Austin, alongside designers Namilia and Kim Shui, will debut collaborations with a virtual runway show of the custom designs. Modest Muslim designer Saeedah Haque presents her first runway show live from London, the first to reinvent the Abaya garment into utility wear. Founder Rashaad Strong, will introduce his new platform, ACRES, global e-commerce marketplace planting seeds in developing communities featuring a B2B profit-sharing model designed to fund and establish emerging brands.
With the NFT craze on the ride, Faberium, founded by Bolor Amgalan and Boris Bresil, will debut an Artisanal NFT Marketplace through a virtual exhibition. Additionally, brand PROFET, which mixes meditation with fashion, declares the act of dressing up as a therapeutic moment and will showcase their ready-to-wear and accessories collection titled Thought-Wear. To close out the event, Julian Soto, known for his work with Onyx Collective, will debut music from his solo project, and Cakes Da Killa will debut the trailer for his short film Visibility Sucks.
All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the VFILES Foundation and ticket holders can view the live stream for 24 hours after launch on Friday. Head to VFILES.VEEPS.com for more information.
THANK YOU PAPER for the article on our VFILES LAB SHOW!
Since arriving on the scene in 2012 as a digital creator platform, VFILES grew to become a launching pad for many emerging designers, many of whom didn’t exactly fit the mold of the fashion establishment. Its group runway shows were some of the hottest invitations of NYFW — over the years there have been surprise appearances by the likes of Brooke Candy, Erika Jayne, Lil’ Kim and Rico Nasty.
Other past names associated with the platform include Virgil Abloh, Hood by Air,Heron Preston and Nina Ricci’s Rushemy Botter. But after holding a star-studded show with Depop in September 2019, VFILES sat out on doing shows all of last year after rethinking its approach in the wake of the pandemic and social justice movements.
As such, founder Julie Anne Quay decided to operate the company as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called VFILES Foundation, with an emphasis on giving the creative community access to opportunity, education and mentorship. Last fall, they announced a new incubator program called VFILES Lab and received over 700 submissions. Seven finalists were chosen, and each will receive a $10,000 grant, 10 weeks of online talent incubation and a slot in the first VFILES Lab show to be held digitally on April 9.
The inaugural group, whose creations will debut on the livestreaming platform Veeps, spans talents in the fields of music, art, design and fashion and hail from places like New York, Paris and Seoul. Among the winners are musician Cakes Da Killa, who will debut a new film directed by Miles Warren and Luca Silveria; Joshua Mudgett‘s custom AI fashion company Chimera, which will premiere a documentary featuring collaborations with Namilia, Dorian Electra and Abby Jasmine; and digital platform Faberium which will launch an NFT marketplace.
Other lineups include a live performance by Julian Soto; modest streetwear designer Saeedah Haque‘s first runway show; Rashaad Strong’s unveiling of ACRES, a global e-commerce marketplace; and the premiere of Korean “thought wear” brand Profet. All ticket sales proceeds will be donated to the VFILES Foundation, and ticket holders will be able to view the livestream for 24 hours after the show date.