By Sierra Petro
Every student was invited to sit front-row at New York Fashion Week here at Purchase College thanks to Sean Ishikawa, creative director of Persona Non Grata.
Classmates, family members, and friends of friends filled a Greenwich Village church Saturday evening and exchanged after-party plans and stories from Burning Man from the weekend prior, before they were told to uncross their legs for the start of the show. This was Ishikawa’s last show as a Purchase student before he graduates in December, so all attendees needed to have both feet planted to be able to drift, just like he wanted, into the “threshold” of this literature major’s story.
The show was called “Threshold” in reference to the new start the brand will be having once Ishikawa graduates. The show was done off-campus to make it known that PNG isn’t just a project he was doing in college. Ishikawa has been preparing to keep creating art, while making profits a priority.
PNG’s Spring 2020 collection had a close-knit band of models marching down the runway; they were all Purchase students/alumni or knew the designer growing up. However, the brand got its name from being dedicated to people who feel like they don’t belong, so there was a piece in there for almost anybody to rock.
Per usual, Ishikawa stayed true to his knack for mixing prints and patterns. A signature staple of the brand is menswear sets, consisting of a straight-leg pant and jacket. A stand-out look this season was a trench with a cheetah-print interior paired with striped shorts and a scarf.
The mix of patterns and pleasant yellow tone made this look cheerful enough to wear on a trip to a quaint town upstate on a summer day. However, the mix of these two patterns, one simple and one a little more daring, suggested that the right wearer could take this look somewhere the lights are a little more dim and still make it shine.
This “excitement of simplicity” rang out on more occasions than one. Ishikawa added a mix of knitwear and pleated, asymmetrical shorts to add some texture to a look consisting of a floral tank and white shorts. Another highlight of the collection with both pleats and an asymmetrical hem was a pink skirt that shone just like the rosy highlight above the models’ cheekbones.
The classic elements that created an “edge,” like off-the-shoulder tanks and exposed thighs, and cozier pieces, like knitwear and silky fabrics, all came together to make this a more cohesive collection than ever before.
Ishikawa doesn’t see PNG’s style of being regimented, yet open-minded, changing anytime soon.
“Purchase will always be in the DNA of the brand. The idea of brutalist architecture against liberal thinkers honed my personal style/aesthetic,” said the designer, “The name is Persona Non Grata, which will always mean that when the rejects can’t get what they want, they can come with us and it’ll be better.”
Photos by Leo Avo and Rogerio Coutinho