After news that the fashion show for the graduating class of the Willem de Kooning Academy was canceled, the women joined forces in a synchronized act of dedication to raise funds and stage their own independent show. The group has since been an encouraging force in fashion, championing change while striving to conquer the status-quo and embrace diversity in its myriad forms. The women of Reconstruct have continually pushed the boundaries of their ideas surrounding design, construction, and meaning – and with each collection have introduced us to yet another dimension of their unique and ever-evolving universe.
Following shows in Amsterdam and Denmark, the collective made their stateside debut, showcasing their fourth collection during NYFW: Men’s. The show was curated by Dennis Venderbroeck and took place at Industria Studios in the West Village. With their unisex Retrograde Orbit collection, Reconstruct tells the tale of planet RE-4, a limitless space where we can start with a clean slate, liberated from planet earth’s rigidly established rules. The collection presented multi-wearable options, and unexpected combinations – along with reconfigured Converse tracksuits and pieces from The New Originals, an Amsterdam-based brand. The deliciously extraterrestrial palette varied from clear white and light blues to popping shades of orange, petrol and pink. We recently had a chat with Alyssa Groeneveld about Reconstruct’s otherworldly vision and their SS19 collection.
How do you think your collections have evolved?
We started two years ago and each time, we create a concept for the collection that relates to ourselves and our experiences, where we all design for our own fictional character. So each time, we grow personally and as a team, and our collections grow with us. We also try to work with inspiring artists from different disciplines to make our collection and show more diverse and less “fashion.”
Where did you find inspiration for this latest collection?
For this season we are taking everyone into space, to another planet. The collection is called Retrograde Orbit and tells a story about a newborn planet that is inhabited with hybrid creatures. In an era where utopic and dystopic sci-fi movies are more popular and important than ever for people to escape from the harsh reality, we want to tell a story of the ultimate form of our collective. A form in space, where we can start with a clean slate and are not obligated to the set rules of planet earth. The story of planet RE-4 is a metaphor for where Reconstruct Collective positions itself in the fashion world.
Congratulations on your stateside debut! Was it your first time in New York?
Thank you so much! And yes, this was our first time at NYFW.
How do you feel about your appearance at NYFW?
It has always been one of our dreams to show in New York. Even though we’ve never been, we knew we would fit right into this city. We think this collection really fits the vibe of New York. The people here are super loving and diverse and a little bit of extra.
I heard you have a non-traditional way of casting your models. Can you tell me about this?
We are always looking for people with a personality and a dash of “piri piri” sauce. We find those people on the streets, on Instagram or have a whole group of friends. We never have a specific type in mind - if we like their vibe, we ask them to model for us.
There is a strong message of inclusivity behind the collective. Can you tell me more about this?
Reconstruct stands for breaking the rules of the fashion industry. Not in an aggressive way, but in a progressive way. Everyone is welcome to join our worlds and believes. No one is better or worse and that’s why we don’t believe in front rows and don’t want to exclude our audience. We just want to inspire, share our moments with everyone and have fun.
Please tell me about your collaborations which were a part of this collection?
For this collection we worked again with Converse. We did an outtake before on their Chuck Taylor’s in the SS18 collection and this time reconstructed their tracksuits. We also reconstructed the orange and black trousers from the Amsterdam-based brand The New Originals. We love both brands because we share the same vision and both brands are really approachable, supporting creatives and the youth. Planet i made these amazing visors and sunglasses, those were the cherry on the pie. Dennis Vanderbroek who is an amazing autonomous artist always creates our set design and choreography. And last but not least, Matthew Mazur spiced it all up.
What makes planet RE-4 so special?
It’s a place where everyone is welcome to start with a clean slate and become whatever they want to be, they are not obligated to the set (social) rules of planet earth...and I heard the booze is pretty cheap.
In what creative direction will you travel next?
We want to go to URANUS.
- Shoes by Converse
- Special thanks to The New Originals