Abasi Rosborough: Bringing Menswear into the Future
Abasi Rosborough clothing features all-natural fabrics that let the wearer move easily, seams that follow the body’s anatomy and magnets in lieu of buttons. The futuristic vision is catching on: In February, the duo (Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough) was nominated for the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, voted on this year by Marc Jacobs and Kendall Jenner, among others. But will fame make them less outspoken? “I don’t care if we alienate anybody,” says Rosborough. “If we’re ignoring what we’re actually thinking, the whole thing’s a sham.”
What you guys are doing is definitely different than anything you’d see on the street today. Do you think men are brave enough to wear something that makes them stand out so much?
ROSBOROUGH: On the interior of our label we have this quote: “The vision of who or where you want to be is the most important asset you have.” Our clients all have a strong sense of individuality. That comes through in all aspects of their life. They live this curated lifestyle. They’re particular about their furniture, where they’re traveling, the magazines they’re reading, their coffee. They define themselves very much on an individual level, not as they might be defined by society or what a man should be. As opposed to being afraid of wearing something that stands out, they want to wear something that says, “I’m individual.” You put it on, people ask you what it is. I mean, I was at Staples buying boxes the other day and a guy asked me where my jacket was from. It’s interesting because that’s a dialogue completely away from the fashion context. It’s everyday life. I’m standing in line at a check-out counter. We’ve both had it happen. It happens on the subway all the time.
ABASI: The beauty of that is it’s the court of public opinion. Greg and I can do some things that are whimsical or avant-garde, and in the fashion bubble of New York you would get it. But to go into a place like Staples or a grocery store and still have people appreciate it means that you’re creating something that’s egalitarian—that’s universally understood as good design.
What’s one piece of practical style advice you can give to the average man?
ROSBOROUGH: One thing I have learned is that the people who are the most sure of themselves actually wear the same thing every day. Steve Jobs wore a black sweater and blue jeans. The sweaters were by Issey Miyake. He had like 20 of them. And what it becomes is your identity. This is what Steve Jobs looks like.
So I wear black jeans seven days a week. It’s the same pair. It’s not even like I have a rotation. And when they’re destroyed I’ll get another pair. I like the idea of having two blazers and maybe you rotate out what’s underneath them. Maybe you change your tee shirts. But consistency is kind of a beautiful thing. Because you really begin to feel like that’s who you are. You don’t need to be surprising people. And you also feel more like yourself every time you put those things on. You’re not like, “Well, I’m this guy this day, and I’m this guy that day.”
ABASI: Look at it as phases of life. Because clothing is skin, right? So when we’re born we have our birthday suit. We can’t change that. But what we can put on our body we can change. And when you’re young you want to try everything. You want to experiment. The older you get, you become more fixed and sure of who you are. I’m 36. I’m a little bit older. I used to wear the pink suit and all that. Now I just wear all black or monochrome every single day. And no diss to anyone who does that. If you’re that guy who’s a dandy and has 12 different suits and the socks and ties to match, do it. Just make sure you do it in a confident way. I don’t like that whole style advice—like don’t wear blue with brown or whatever.
Abasi Rosborough is exclusive to 4.