WILLY CHAVARRIA Fall 2018 Menswear Collection: "BELIEVERS"
Posted on August 26 2018
Although many designers use their platform to make statements about the world around them, few have the presence that WILLY CHAVARRIA commands. Passing through commentary on industry or inclusivity, Chavarria boldly proclaims the human condition itself with his Fall 2018 collection, entitled "BELIEVERS". Despite the positive name, the tone of the collection is somber, with words of solidarity cemented against muddy grays and washed blacks.
While each message has a positive connotation, these are expressions of necessity, not optimism. In a nod to his time at Ralph Lauren, preppy inversions of 90s sporty logo apparel show a dissatisfaction with the recent past while maintaining basic truths throughout. "There is no such thing as an illegal human being" reads one such statement "The world is a sanctuary for the human race" says another. Oversized proportions shield the bodies of the ordinary people Chavarria uses as runway models for a maxed out minimalism that strengthens his intention.
For Chavarria, belief in a better future requires an acknowledgement of our current failings. Using brokenness to showcase the fragility that defines our existence is a critical step in understanding mankind's common bonds. Each point in his manifesto is a double-edged sword: "Human Equality" acknowledges a perception of inequality that must be confronted; "Sanctuary" advocates the righteous salvation of the world for the sake of its residents; "Power" embodies individual ability to enact change around us; and, the most overtly political piece from the collection, the Canal Street Buffalo Tee, acutely reflects (literally, upside down) an altered America that should be rectified.
"BELIEVERS" refers to us all, enmeshed within the harsh reality of struggle, sacrifice, and occasional success. Willy wants us to see within ourselves the beauty in brokenness, the serenity of sacrifice, and the authenticity of affliction. Only by acknowledging our faults can we overcome them. Only by reaching inside ourselves can we truly understand others. In a harsh cultural landscape that differentiates between colors, creeds, and classes, Chavarria preaches acceptance to those who believe.