What you see isn’t what you get. Our outward appearances are hardly ever indicative of our internal mind-state, our hopes, fears and struggles. Sometimes, it takes an intervention from those closest to us to bring us back from the edge. This dichotomy pervades NAMESAKE’s latest collection for the Spring/Summer 2023 season. Titled ‘LIFEGUARD’, it captures a precarious yet ultimately life-affirming chapter in the journey of brotherhood between the Hsieh brothers.

The story begins a decade earlier, at a high school graduation ceremony cut short by a call for help from one of the three brothers, Michael. Tormented by debilitating acne, he quickly spiraled a cycle of pain and delusion caused by intense self-judgment, resulting in his hospitalization. In that dark chapter, Steve rose to the occasion, flying across the globe and spending the next six months nursing his brother back to health.

“By fighting against adversity, we found that team effort is where we can find the strength to not give up,” Steve recalls. “Though I wasn’t able to enjoy the joy of graduation like a normal 18-year-old, I believe that it is in every saving moment that we feel most alive.”

In doing everything to protect Michael, it became clear that the brothers are each other’s lifeguards and each other’s angels.

The collection evokes the fragility of a life-changing event as refracted through the rose-tinted nostalgia of 2000s-era New York City, coupled with an urge to speak out about the current culture of valuing appearance above all else.

Here, the Y2K aesthetics of New York meet the lifeguards of ‘70s-era Venice Beach and the insouciant sportswear of Rucker Park in the 1990s—where the careers of basketball legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Allen Iverson began. The influence of the slightly unnerved, self-referential works of Andy Warhol and Spike Lee are also apparent throughout, building on their tendency to evoke the disconnect between the creative mind and society at large.

In line with the theme, optical illusions reign supreme: fabrics that look stiff are soft upon the touch; what seems thick is in fact precariously thin. Boxy tees are overlaid on ruffled, baggy pants; and pieces made of hidden beads mimic the pockmarked appearance of acne-afflicted skin. These mimic Michael’s unstable mindset during that dark time, evading categorization upon first glance and initially appearing blurry and unclear.

The brothers continue to play with “alternative visions” in fabrics, utilizing their research on novel textiles and traditional techniques as ways to express ideas and stories. Deadstock striped weaves, inspired by the pattern of beach lounge chairs, fade in and out of being; combined with technical fabrics that have been hand-painted and dyed by Japanese artisans to achieve a rust-like effect that amplifies the feeling of murkiness. These contend with the layering of 3D deconstructed graphics to create a sense of instability.

Continuing the brand’s ethos in upcycling, the brand has also developed new fabrics that incorporate recycled elements from sources as diverse as safety glasses, industrial ash, and pineapples.

A Film By
Farid Karioty and Guillaume Plas

Marc-Henri Ngandu

Nicolas Goulden
[email protected]

Jamie-Maree Shipton



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