Life & Culture

The Gender-Fluid New Brand Inspired by Hollywood and Enya

Emerging designer Vasilis Loizides’ theatrical work blurs the lines between fantasy and reality – here, he discusses his new A/W18 collection and his plans for the future

Name/Brand: Vasilis Loizides

Location: New York

Alma Mata: Parsons School of Design

USP: Genderfluid and not for those of a nervous sartorial disposition

Instagram: @vasilisnyc

No matter how ostentatious or understated, clothing is a form of costume, conveying how we wish to be received by the world. This is a trope that rising menswear designer Vasilis Loizides pushes to the extreme, in his filmic collections that tread the line between fantasy and reality. Hailing from the island of Cyprus, Loizides first realised he wanted to pursue a career in fashion when he was forced into military service (Greece still operates conscription for men). “I was really upset about it. I had to be there for two years!” he explains. “It wasn’t the cutest experience… But while I was there, I always had these creative urges and started really getting into fashion. I don’t know what it was, but that experience pushed me into being like ‘this is what I want to do with my life’.”

Today, Loizides calls New York home, having graduated in menswear from Parsons School of Design and cutting his teeth at Marc by Marc Jacobs, Nicopanda and Marchesa. “It was such great time,” he says. “I learnt so many things and was fortunate enough to have great mentors as well who helped me out. I think Parsons is getting better and better at letting the students be more creative, too.” The first collection under his namesake label launched last year, a gender fluid cacophony of silk and organza, with ballooning crinoline skirts and shift dresses printed with stills from 1950s B-movies.

For his latest (A/W18) offering, Loizides turned to Hollywood once more, this time investigating the genre of Miami crime noir. Whilst Mafioso-esque flared and tailored trousers feature heavily, a mint-green slip and white gown adorned with an open-mouthed crocodile also make special cameos. “The way I usually design is that I like to create a kind of narrative and start building these archetypal personalities that exist within the collection,” he says. “So basically, I design these clothes for characters that I imagined in my head. For A/W18, one of the characters is a crocodile, one is a robber of the bank and one is a housewife.”

Certainly, Vasilis Loizides’ work isn’t for those of a nervous sartorial disposition – ‘subtle’ isn’t a word known to his lexicon. But such brazen eccentricity puts him in line with other contemporary menswear designers receiving acclaim for the very same reason, such as Palomo Spain and Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY. Each are questioning the performance of gender and identity through similar theatrical methods.

This isn’t to say that Loizides doesn’t want his clothes to be worn by real people, however, even though the individuals he cites as inspiration are far from ‘the norm’. “An artistic male; or female actually – anyone. It’s very broad,” he says. “But my muse is Enya, the singer. She has such a bizarre and amazing life – living in her castle alone with her cats. I love people who have agency over their own narrative and don’t submit to trends and societal standards. She is certainly one of them.”

Plans for the future are concrete, and Loizides has commerciality in mind, although he stresses that he would never ‘sell-out’. “In ten years time, I would like to have a successful brand showing as part of the fashion week schedule,” he says. “I want it to be commercially successful, but at the same time a brand that I feel proud of for its unique aesthetic. I hope that it contributes to the shifting of culture – I would never make clothes for clothes’ sake.” With requests from stylists coming in thick and fast from London, Loizides also endeavors to move back to Europe, noting that the popularity of his work in the UK. seems serendipitous. “I really love New York for its energy and it really inspires me. However, I am European so it would be great to be closer to home. My work has received a lot of attention from creatives in London. Maybe it’s a sign that’s where I should be!”