FAST 2022: Ethan Cortez merges streetwear and corporate styles in a new collection

Ethan Cortez gets down to business with his first collection.

As a newcomer to the Fashion and Student Trends show at UCLA’s spring parade, the pre-business economics freshman said the core of his collection is the distortion of traditional corporate wear, infused with streetwear elements. By manipulating the proportions of professional silhouettes and adding excess distress to the fabric, Cortez said her themed collection is a commentary on America’s toxic work culture. With these quirky edits, he said he hopes to mimic the feelings of stress and anxiety felt by Americans working in communal offices.

“Before I started getting more involved in the fashion industry, I had an internal struggle: ‘Do I really want to spend the rest of my life in an office having to wear suits every day? “Said Cortez. “I saw the stress this put on my dad and I was like, ‘Do I really want the same life for myself?'”

Complete with six different looks, Cortez said he named each after a stereotypical trope in the typical office environment, such as “the big boss” or “the plebs.” As for the design patterns that repeat throughout, he said the majority of the looks were baggy, inspired by fashion from the 2000s music videos he grew up watching. A double sided is also widely used The multi-coloured Cortez knit fabric said it was attracted, a material that will be featured in half of the looks to unify the collection.

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Beyond the clothes, Cortez said he intentionally chose dark trap music to create an eerie runway vibe, incorporating an abrasive element to reinforce his collection’s theme. However, he said the genre was both a personal preference and a reflection of the trap music he listened to as a teenager. Additionally, Cortez said he chose models on the basis that they could walk too aggressively and quickly.

From the first try, third-year sociology student Robby Wong said Cortez gravitated to him because of his natural gait, which coincided with the direction he wanted his models to take. With the FAST show being his first step on an official catwalk, Wong said he reveres the shows for their greater sense of formality and their ability to showcase designs in motion.

“I really liked the look he gave me,” Wong said. “There’s the juxtaposition between the average – very well-dressed – office worker and me, wearing office attire but it’s just very distressed and sloppy. I always love how themes can contradict our sense of reality.

Although Cortez took a turn for the abnormal when designing his collection, he said he still wants its parts remain wearable and therefore durable. Unlike other high-end fashion brands that produce a surplus of unworn looks, Cortez said it prioritizes minimizing its waste, finding the balance between pushing the boundaries of streetwear and making clothes that can still be worn on a daily basis.

Cortez (left) wears a hoodie and hat while Wong (right) wears a distressed striped sweater over a button down shirt and tie. Wong said he enjoys the formality of the runway format and how it allows clothes to be presented with an added element of movement. (Bryan Palmero/Daily Bruin senior executives)

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Since the collection began production in December, Cortez said collaboration has been constant between FAST designers, especially in the form of dissecting ideas and motivating each other during the long period of design and reiteration. . Another senior collaborator is second-year business economics student Mohammed Abdelmuati, a friend and business partner of Cortez, who said the couple’s ideologies intersect in the common goal of marketing Cortez’s fashion brand. , Part-Time Plastic Company. Whether it’s in the form of driving around Los Angeles putting up posters or Cortez staying up late to send him quirky designs, Abdelmuati said his designs and brand aim to change fashion culture by bringing a high-end style to the street.

“Ethan shares the same sentiment (as Off-White or Louis Vuitton),” Abdelmuati said. “He wants to change the culture, to be able to express himself creatively… and that people support his vision.

Ultimately, Cortez said his future was rooted in the fashion industry as he continued to hone his design skills and grow his fashion brand. Specifically, he said he plans to find new ways to recycle plastics into fabric, while providing commentary on political and social change through his clothing. Through his collection and his company, Cortez said he hoped to draw people toward a common goal of creating reform in the United States.

“All of my current designs and all of my future designs are about social commentary, regardless of what it’s about in this specific collection,” Cortez said. “Clothes can’t just be clothes anymore. They have to mean something to the person who puts them on. If you’re just putting a logo on something that doesn’t mean anything, but if you’re trying to convey a message or a story, it means everything.

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