On Febuary 28 at 7pm, the MA in Fashion Studies of The New School Parsons Paris presented LOCALITÉ KOCHÉ, a student project created in collaboration with the Paris-based brand Koché.

During the Fall 2018 semester, the second year students of the Master explored issues of branding, image-making and promotion in connection to fashion retailing, working closely with the founder and designer Christelle Kocher and event director Julien Lacroix. Led by the artist Justin Morin, students were asked to imagine what could be the first commercial space dedicated to Koché, according to the brand’s imaginary and aesthetics.

Founded in 2015, Koché works on a crossroad of couture know-how, streetwear attitude, and youth culture. This philosophy was analysed by the MA students and translated into a contemporary approach to brand identity and retail experiences. All projects were produced under the guidance of fashion journalist and critic Tiffany Godoy, photographer Olle Bengtsson, and art director Michael Thorsby.

LOCALITÉ KOCHÉ presented the results of this process, showcasing two window installations by the students Philippa Nesbitt and Angelene Suet Fong. The title of the installations evokes the idea of community proposed by Koché, the meanings of the “local” in the contemporary global context and the importance of rethinking the spaces and modalities of global fashion retailing. Each student’s display proposes a Koché atmosphere, disrupting stereotypical imaginaries of Paris and displacing its retail geographies.

The two projects were showcased at The New School Parsons Paris exhibition space (45, Rue St Roch 2019) during Paris Fashion Week until March 7th.

Philippa Nesbitt:

“My proposal for Koché is all about diversity, globalization and collaboration. So it’s not only a traditional retail store, but it also presents this separate kind of multipurpose space. It would be located right in the heart of Belleville. The project aims to connect the brand with its existing customers in this kind of traditional retail space, but also draw in a new clientele and interact with the community of Belleville. It also presents the opportunity to work with designers, artists, musicians and educators – people outside of the traditional realm of fashion, and really deepen the collaborative nature of Koché. It was also bring art and education and fashion to this community in transition through this kind of public access.  In the past, Koché has invited different artists and collaborators to create campaigns and fashion films for them, and this has really worked for the brand. So the proposed spaces invite an extension of this. They would allow a world of possibilities from art exhibitions to classes to public lecture series – and this would all happen along side Koché’s very first retail space.”

Angelene Wong:

“My project develops Koché’s ideas of diversity, transition, and urbanism that are inherent to their brand identity. In the climate of 21st century identity politics, I wanted to nuance their take on diversity by looking at notions of in-betweenness – geographically, between people, between identities, and how technology affects all this. Pulse, distraction, being in between places and in many places at once – these characterise how we live today and define “Koché In Transit”. Taking cues from literature on identity politics, psychopolitics, and the brand’s love of David Foster Wallace, the project introduces Koché first retail space(s) as four shipping containers to be set up in four different locations around the globe simultaneously. Each container carries the Koché universe and invites customers to not only shop Koché collections but to discover the brand’s backstage world (music and literary inspirations, sketches) and to be part of events after store hours. People are invited to come and pause for a moment in these temporary spaces of togetherness. They can also share their experiences social media which will be broadcasted on the outside walls of every container – what one is posting about from a container in Chengdu will be seen on a container in New York. Even though people are apart, there is a (fleeting) unity across distance and time. In essence, “Koché In Transit” uses fashion as a vehicle to address the complex topic of diversity in the midst of our distractedness. It uses Koché intellectual footing to expand on its customer’s desire for cultural awareness and solace in fashion.”

Photographs by Julien Mouffron-Gardner and Lila Neutre