No Sesso's Outspoken Season
For some time No Sesso has been building a freeing future for fashion, disregarding sex standards while weaving art into the designs with intricate hand embroidery. Today, the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 show and campaign arrives with uniforms updated for an new planet— complicated knits, ornate denim, and a surreal color palette.
We ask the designer Pierre Davis about balancing a brand that is stylish and wearable as well as a statement of action.
Tell me about No Sesso’s conception and background.
I started No Sesso in Seattle in 2013. I took a break and moved to Hawaii that same year and then moved to LA in the summer of 2014. In 2015 I relaunched No Sesso and our current team consists of our assistant embroiderer Leo King, stylist J. Sims, and brand strategist Arin Hayes. No Sesso means “no gender” in Italian and is a gender neutral clothing brand. The pieces are designed with accessibility in mind so there’s something for everyone.
What is this particular collection about?
The collection is futuristic, inspired by sci-fi, and showcasing black joy. Workwear is an ongoing theme in all of the collections but this one is like workwear for a different planet. We’re taking classic styles and elevating them to create a new uniform, to make basics fresh and innovative. While I sewed the last few months, there was always Star Trek playing in the background and I was inspired by their costumes, the textures of the clothing and skin. A lot of TV shows and movies that take place in the future don’t have black people in them so I wanted to explore it through my own vision. It’s a conceptual representation of how I see my future. The bright colors were integrated to contrast the gray winter months and help people with seasonal depression. You can put on something colorful and change your mood for the day. We wanted to exhibit happiness and show people smiling which is something you don’t typically see in fashion campaigns.
This collection has some of your signature textiles and fabrics but you’ve also added new ones that you haven’t used before.
Yes, lots of metallic gold which I’ve never used, custom knits, artisanal pieces to keep you really cozy and warm. The fur coat was all hand-sewn. A lot of the pieces are embroidered by hand. Most of the knits are handmade. There are really fun linings that give everything a royal look. Everything has an element of second skin. You collaborated with other artists for the show and collection which is also something new.
Who did you work with?
We collaborated with Elvira Graham for the custom knits and hats. She’s an artist based in England that I found through a friend’s instagram. She was modeling her own garments and I instantly fell in love with the knit textiles and how intricate the patterns were. I emailed her and within a few hours we were working on designs. I’ve known Janiva Ellis for a while and found out she was a painter because we did a group show together in January. I loved her work and technique. We printed one of her paintings on a sweatshirt and a mesh dress that doubles as a long sleeve shirt. It’s fun wearable art and working with Janiva definitely feels like building sisterhood. Prince Will (Fade To Mind) reached out about collaborating on music and we also brought Asmara (NguzuNguzu) on board because I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. They composed new music for the show. The runway show has an all-star cast, friends of ours and people from our community. It’s the largest scale production we’ve ever done and we’re showing contemporary garments. It’s the debut of No Sesso to the world.