Fashion Trend Report: Wool

Written by Jordan Minkoff
Art by Tom Jones
Originally published in Issue 20

Whether angora or qiviut, 2021 will be looked-back on as the year wool finally broke free of modern processes and triumphantly returned to its simpler, more fragrant self. Gone will be the notions of an inferior form as throughout this year laps of fresh-off-the beast wool will be pomped and draped over the heads of the sceptics and subsequently take us back to a time best remembered by senior citizens. And while unprocessed- wool has had its way with the hunch-back industry now for countless millennia, 2021 will be the year where we get to see the famously matted and silly-looking hair make its way into the runways and catalogues. Booga booga! While cave-chicks were no doubt the early trotters of this bygone drip, it was dapper cave- men that first started sporting raw wools and skins to formal events and social gatherings. As far back as 6000BC fashion archeologists have found traces of camel wool fashioned into anything from holly-vests, gigot-sleeves, driving gloves, neckerchiefs, and simple a-line ties.

For 2021, NYC-based designers such as Tom Borrows and Kendrick Honeyshaft have had their go at the tender hair with SS2021 collections that demand attention. With Borrows leading the way, his new line, ArkiOlo.G, picks up where the leading designers of the Paleolithic era left off. The pieces that launched last week at Monoki House did away with modern sheefing and shape techniques and brought back the nostalgic looks that coco-braiding, zugweaving, and stone-buttoning single-handedly made possible. His most notable piece, an elegant Manchester peacoat made of ancient brown elephant hair, featured both a 20lb zircon stone and a 3 tonne cut of cement highway-footing fashioned at the base of the softails. The huffy designer refused to comment on the piece as he frantically attempted to clear the stage of stray hair.

If Burrows is here playing the long game with cote and snab, Honeyshaft puts a very deliberate emphasis on freshness and immediacy. His unpredictable runway shows have continuously been the talk of bohemian a-listers and have rightfully earned him the enviable nickname of “Shifty Shaft.” His commitment to surprise was on full display at Faberge Factory with a committed team of sheep- shearers quite literally shearing sheep and shepherding the shy model Sheila Shay (tarted-up in the fresh shag) down the Faberge runway and into the hearts of the show-goers below. If the crowds chants of “baaah” and “baaabaaa” were any indicator, Shifty Shaft’s loyalty to disloyalty will be enough to argue for his accession into the fashion monarchy by bounds end.

You don’t need to be a Muskox herder to see that the Dokutsu 2021 line of rawhide-thongs are nothing short of incredibly sexy and tasteful. Although we have seen the return of hide-n-wool work coming for a few seasons now, it is indie designers such as London- based Laurel Peets, French footwear company Soshie-Chausseure, and the aforementioned Dokutsu of Tokyo that have catapulted the movement into a new decade. And while there is proof that cave-chicks of yesteryear did indeed delve into their imaginations with everything from mohair lingerie and lacework to fury slips and hobble skirts, the fun and flirty came to an end with the announcement of the first law; no sex- wear. Fast forward a few years and we can see that today’s young designers have little to no fear of cave-law or the wooden-bat bonking that comes along with it. Peets, who at 13 opened the first wind-powered sweatshop at the summit of Mt. Hampersmear, makes no excuses when it comes to nourishing the soul. Boutique items such as her 50/50 Cashgora/Hoovebone minaudière was not surprisingly one of the most gawked- over accessories at this season’s NYFW. The item left little to the imagination with its ingenious sapphic-design created with the goal of carrying cucumbers and long sticks.