by SHYAM PATEL, July 2018
With a renewed interest in clean eating, natural products, and connecting with nature, society is focused on wholesomeness. Sensing that desire for a primordial lifestyle, designers Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough looked to the sartorial tendencies of isolated communities and lost cultures in their spring 2019 collection.
"We're thinking about a pre-industrial time when things were handmade," Abasi explains citing the Hopi and Navajo tribes of Arizona as a point of reference. Natural textiles with a weatherworn look were cut and draped into shapes reminiscent of kimonos, kendo jackets, and ascetic robes. Shades of saffron and maroon evoked Tibetan monastic orders while the opening looks in black and closing ones in white, respectively touched on solemnity and purity.
"Marc [Meuller] told us that the most amazing night of his life was spent in the Moroccan desert with a Bedouin tribe," Rosborough says referring to the multi-instrumentalist who played the drum and didgeridoo at the runway show. "They wore cloaks that made their bodies more mysterious." That ambiguity came through in open silhouettes cut to accommodate different heights and body types.
Standing in sharp contrast to fashion's current preoccupation with flashy body-con clothes, the collection's subdued, meditative nature proves that simplicity can make a bold statement.
by JANELLE OKWODU, July 2018
It would be enough to make nice clothes guys want to wear, but Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough go the extra mile. Their offbeat approach to menswear means each piece comes with a story, and this season it was all about the tribe. Be they the Hopi and Navajo peoples Rosborough grew up learning about in Arizona, or the Bedouin and Berber nomads Abasi cited as a reference, the pair were drawn to the idea of community and the ephemeral nature of culture. “We were trying to capture this really poetic idea of we’re all one tribe,” shared Rosborough preshow. “Our lives and spirits are vanishing, and there’s this interesting juxtaposition, so how do we capture that within the clothes so that it touches on spirituality and humanity but is also a reaction to our times and the divisiveness.”
Dubbed Desert Phantom, the collection addressed its underlying meaning via a global range of references and a series of inventive techniques, including the use of typography designed by artist Corey James that spelled out the name on parkas and flight jackets in shades of navy and crimson. With one-man band Marc Mueller providing an otherworldly soundscape, Abasi and Rosborough set a mood that carried through the show’s 30 looks. Eclectic, with attention paid to details like texture and pattern, the clothes represented a melange of cultures. The loose-fitting silhouettes of blazers called to mind Japanese haori; rust-colored stripes and frayed black linen on dusters and anoraks channeled all manner of traditional dress.
The clash of past meets present, East meets West, could have felt unfocused, but the collection was anchored by an of-the-moment sensibility, from the sleek tabis to the drawstring track pants.
by JONATHAN SAWYER, July 2018
As our coverage from New York Fashion Week: Men’s continues, here we get a look at what Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough have conjured up for Spring 2019. At the core, the collection explores fleeting cultures and tribes.
The assortment includes kimono-inspired outerwear, various items with Navajo print, fitted bottoms, wrinkled cotton silhouettes, and items constructed from frayed linen fabrics. In addition, we see a nod to the desert via a series of clean white garments.
by JAKE SILBERT, July 2018
New York’s Abasi Rosborough returns for Spring/Summer 2019 with a range of muted layers ideal for the warm weather. Lightweight fabrics increase air flow and regal, mature cuts create effortless drape, quietly fulfilling the collection’s name: “Desert Phantom.”
Recognizable items, like parkas and bomber jackets, are trimmed of unnecessary detailing — instead, goods are realized with sleek cuts and heritage-inspired patterns, bolstered by the quality of the reclaimed fabrics that inform Abasi Rosborough’s seasonal releases. Thumbhole-accented sweaters sport insert panels that contrast understated craft with appealing patterns, while outerwear showcases collarless necklines influenced by Japanese layering pieces and interior drawstrings for adjustable fits. Monochrome items are elevated with accents of blue, green and red, preventing the collection’s various patterns, pockets and pouches from reading as too busy. Instead, the various accessories — shoulder bags, obi-like belts, enormous scarves and a new iteration of the brand’s signature tabi boot — served to complement the techwear undertones that Abasi Rosborough develop upon each season, adding another layer of functionality to the intelligently-designed garments.
by ALEX BADIA, July 2018
In their sophomore showing during New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough explored a desert phantom theme that referenced a variety of vanishing cultures and tribes.
The design duo paraded a diverse range, from kimono-inspired jackets and coats and fitted cargo pants to Navajo-printed parkas. The color palette included deep burgundies and burnt orange that brought an Eastern sensibility to the forefront, while a flowing white section telegraphed the desert inspiration. “We even looked at ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’” Rosborough noted.
A wrinkled cotton hybrid poncho with matching head scarf and an ethereal topcoat in the same fabric also drove the desert theme home. Likewise, a Tencel linen that was frayed to look old — employed for bomber jackets and coats — reinforced that worn-in traveler vibe.
With this effort, Abasi Rosborough continues to make its mark in men’s fashion. “We’ve seen an exodus of big designers this week, but we look at it as an opportunity for new designers to step forward,” Rosborough said.
Whatever you do, don’t call Abasi Rosborough clothing of the future. According to founders Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, it’s the clothing of today. Abdul and Greg stopped by to discuss the origins of their brand, designing for the modern age, and the importance of sustainability in fashion.
by Wilbert Cooper, April 2018
When the Abasi Rosborough label first hit the New York menswear scene back in 2013, it seemed like it was run by fashion’s ultimate futurists. The brand’s namesakes, Greg Rosborough and Abdul Abasi, were dedicated to sparking the evolution of suiting from the tired conventions of the 19th century to something more modern. If the traditional suit was the rotary phone, they wanted to design the sartorial equivalent of the iPhone—a suit that is dynamic, responsive, and game-changing. To do this, Rosborough pulled from his background in competitive basketball and his familiarity with sportswear, while Abasi drew influence from his years as a sergeant in the US military and its utilitarian bomber jackets and cargo pants. Together, the FIT alums created designs that boasted classic European tailoring melded with modern ergonomic design and eclectic inspiration from Japanese kimonos to African ankara prints. Their vision is unmistakably forward-thinking, with each new collection functioning a bit like a software upgrade in which the approach is refined and new features are added.
But recently the brand’s relationship with the future has become complicated. Its Spring/Summer 2018 collection, entitled Hyperobject, featured some clothing with aerial images of melting glaciers, highlighting the adverse effects of climate change that have been especially fueled by polluters in the fashion industry. Then their debut runway show for Autumn/Winter 2018 took their critiques of where humans are headed one step further. Appropriately titledUtopia/Dystopia, the color-blocked collection of avant-garde staples was presented at New York Fashion Week: Men’s in February with beautifully haunting music performed by genre-defying singer-songwriter Kelela and Abdul’s brother Tosin, the metal guitarist of Animals as Leaders. As the cacophonous sound tapped into the dubiety of our times, the models walked the runway wearing “geometric facial recognition maps” on their faces—an explicit nod to the troubling and exciting adoption of that technology, just one more example of the devil’s bargain we’re forced to make between convenience and privacy.
The duality inherent in their new fashion range was a clear outgrowth of the special dialogue between Rosborough and Abasi. To get a better idea where the duo think their menswear and, most importantly, mankind is headed, we asked the designers to let us in on one of their conversations. They gave us a wide-reaching chat, touching on everything from cryptocurrencies and our disassociation from nature to how they developed their latest collection. Here’s what the designers had to say.
by Max Grobe, April 2018
Abasi Rosborough is the New York-based fashion label who made waves after a NYFW debut of their FW18 “Utopia/Dystopia” collection earlier this year. Now, for SS18, the label takes a very literal look at the damage from global warming, and their new campaign illustrates what we stand to lose if we don’t act.
Titled “HYPEROBJECT”, Abasi Rosborough’s new collection consists of flight jackets, coats, desert shirts, ankara pants and T-shirts which use a limited edition canvas print of melting sea ice to bring climate change into the forefront of fashion. The prints come from photographer Justin Brice Guariglia, a NYC-based artist who accompanies NASA scientists as they fly over Greenland to document the disappearing glacial ice. The black and white photography is mirrored in the monochrome color palette of the garments, which is interrupted with a flash of orange to signal an urgent sense of alarm.
You can see “HYPEROBJECT” in the video below, which is half nature documentary, half lookbook, intercut with important information about the current state of climate change. It’s as visually spectacular as it is troubling, as the video reminds us, “without change, scientists predict the extinction of polar bears, elephants, chimpanzees, tigers and gorillas within the next 40 years”. Of course, none of this would make any sense if Abasi Rosborough didn’t hold itself to the same standard of sustainability. The SS18 drop is made locally in New York from 80% upcycled deadstock fabrics and all natural materials, i.e. hemp.
Abasi Rosborugh have shown that it’s not only possible for fashion brands to be environmentally responsible, but it can actually make for a very covetable collection at the same time. It feels like a big step forward for ethically-sourced fashion, for both designers and consumers. The campaign also challenges the emotional narrative currently surrounding environmentalism. While the usual conversation about climate change elicits feelings of guilt, duty, and fear, Abasi Rosborough suggests that to actually do something, we replace this with a feeling of love, which actually feels a lot easier for everyone.
by Jake Silbert, April 2018
New York’s Abasi Rosborough returns with another seasonal collection that blends sustainable craftsmanship with cutting-edge design, showcased in a lookbook informed by the nature photography of Justin Guariglia. The brand continues refining its versatile, contemporary cuts, elevated by bold colors and patterns.
Taking the threat of climate change to heart, Abasi Rosborough resists the consumption and waste of the fashion industry, crafting its clothing in New York from sustainable means — 80% of the clothing is sourced from limited edition deadstock fabrics. Orange hues represent the emergency call to action to save the planet, with each piece offering the wearer some form of protection or functionality, inspired by Abdul Abasi’s eight years of military service. Along with a stunning ice print, the detailed goods are offer anatomical seams, breathable natural fabrics and bold prints, with verbiage like “HYPEROBJECT” and “NASA MISSIONS OVER GREENLAND,” the latter a reference to Guariglia’s nature photographs.
by Charles Beckwith, March 2018
Recorded in front of a live audience in the O.N.S Clothing menswear store in Soho (71 Greene Street), a conversation first with Geo Hagan, content director at O.N.S Clothing, followed by O.N.S Creative Lab partner designers Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough of the Abasi Rosborough brand.
by Jian Deleon, February 2018
A few hours before Abasi Rosborough’s first runway show, Elon Musk sent a 119,000 ton rocket into space containing a Tesla Roadster. For all intents and purposes, it is the most powerful rocket to date, and a significant middle finger to the law of gravity that could determine the future of space travel. But what does that have to do with a fashion show? Who can really think about clothes when everything—including new forms of currency—is becoming digitized and exists merely as a construct representing value? That’s the question designers Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough sought to answer in their impressive eleventh collection.
“It’s about the duality and the dichotomy of things,” says Abasi. “The images that we used for this season show the progress of humanity, but at the end of it, we don’t know if it’s going to be a utopia or dystopia.” While the five-year-old label has a few seasons under its belt, this was the first occasion where the design duo had the opportunity to express themselves through a fashion show. Abasi, a true clothing enthusiast with an appreciation for Martin Margiela, learned the ropes at influential menswear label Engineered Garments, while Rosborough honed his craft through stints at RLX, Ralph Lauren’s performance-oriented label, British designer Simon Spurr, and New York menswear brand Bespoken.
This collection builds on themes established in the brand’s SS18 collection, “Hyperobject,” which includes prints from photographer Justin Brice Guariglia—aerial landscape photographs taken on NASA flight missions over Greenland. In those clothes, Guariglia’s work is meant to show the impact of global warming, and reinforces a sustainable message through ethically-made garments made of natural fibers. Here, the clothing’s duality is highlighted through interesting contrasts with bright colors and bold prints. Cobalt blues, stark yellows, and bold reds break apart a black, navy, and camel color story, partly inspired by the discordant color theory of artist Clyfford Still.
“Where is humanity going?” posits Rosborough. “Are spaceships taking us to our dystopian future or our utopian future?”
by Jake Silbert, February 2018
For its New York Fashion Week debut, local label Abasi Rosborough presented its most mature collection to date. Dubbed “Utopia/Dystopia,” the collection elevated the brand’s usual sportswear and Eastern influences into a progressive, accessible lineup. R&B songstress Kelela and renowned guitarist Tosin Abasi, the brother of designer Abdul Abasi, provided the live soundtrack, which began as ethereal ambience before swelling and rising in volume as the collection reached its zenith, an appropriately weighty complement to the show’s apocalyptic motif.
Showcasing a gradual shift from muted, monochrome colors into bold hues, VaporMax Utility-clad models strode the runway wearing an assortment of heavily-layered looks accented by drawstrings and striped patterns. Tapered trousers and sharply tailored jackets aided in affecting clean lines throughout, despite the stacked outerwear.
As the tones shifted to a more colorful palette, the clothing details came to life: anatomical seaming, contrasting mesh panels and various zippered closures became visible on heavy cotton and wool pieces, with some coats carried by backpack-like straps or tied around the waist. At the height of the show, outfits were drenched in eye-grabbing color: a tonally-pink outfit preceded a huge bright blue scarf and a yellow wool poncho walked out after a tie-dyed kimono shirt, boasting matching activewear pants.
by Nick Remsen, February 2018
“Utopia/Dystopia” was the dubiety at play today in Abasi Rosborough’s Fall lineup, presented with the accompaniment of a live performance by Kelela and Tosin Abasi. The brand, founded in 2013 by Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, has become known for its conceptual sportswear—and the collection’s diametric title, and execution, furthered the designers’ cool-handed experimental approach.
“It’s this arc,” said Rosborough, “we kind of have simplistic and then it gets more complicated.” He was speaking to the question-mark paradigm of whether we are moving more in the direction of a utopia or a dystopia, given advances in facial recognition technology, autonomous cars, cryptocurrencies, gene editing, and all the other newfangled stuff that, depending on the observer, is either absolutely fantastic or utterly terrifying. Makeup even featured applied synthetic bits and slabs, placed to where facial recognition software maps its coding. Interesting stuff, at least in conversation.
The clothes were more straightforward than the headiness of the paradox, but it didn’t mean they were weakened because of such. Kimono or almost robe-like pieces were seen at first; reflecting, maybe, easier and less extreme times. But soon, color-blocked jackets, wrapped head-scarves, and angularly cut-and-draped or bionically paneled pieces entered the flow; utopian or dystopian, it’s up to you. At the end of the day, it was engaging to see sportswear that tampered in ways with the DNA of its category, while still coming across as (mostly) wearable.
Photos by Ben Sklar, February 2018
Last night at the Park Avenue Armory, Tom Ford gave New York Fashion Week: Men’s a heavy dose of sex, luxury, and glamour. It was Ford’s first-ever showing at New York’s men’s week. It was the night’s marquee show, but earlier, several of New York’s most creative designers held it down: Abasi Rosborough were presenting their first full runway show. Ben Sklar was behind the scenes and in the mix for all of it.
by Chris Fenimore, February 2018
Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, the founders of Abasi Rosborough, are out to change how we see NYFW and American designers with their Fall/Winter 2018 collection, the pair's eleventh and first-ever runway show. Concerned with where our society is headed and where technological advances are taking us, Abasi Rosborough crafted a collection that aims to play at the duality of our future: Are we headed toward a dystopian or utopian future?
The show took place at the Cadillac House, which is a CFDA venue that is certainly apt to handle futuristic technology. The venue features 16 large HD pillars on its sides running parallel to each other, with a runway in the middle and a large paneled screen at the end of that runway. Here, guitarist Tosin Abasi (of Animals As Leaders fame) and R&B singer/songwriter Kelela performed an original piece for the show that featured swelled, delayed, complex guitar chords and trilling lead riffs under Kelela’s smooth, angelic crooning that later gave way to a larger vocal range her fans have come to know her for.
There was something otherworldly about the show—I’m positive the dark crimson track lighting and oscillating blue, red and pink hues from the screens helped push this feeling. I posted a photo on my Instagram story yesterday from the show of a model in a technical yellow outerwear piece with a yellow shawl wrapped around his head with reflective pieces of tape on his face carefully arranged to look like some form of metallic mask. Someone responded, “Yo, which Star Wars is this?” and while I wouldn’t boil it down to a summation that simple, the sentiment isn’t that far off. Toeing the line between avant-garde and strictly tailored, many pieces in the collection would be at home in a near-distant future, but they are certainly perfect for life in 2018, too. I’ll add the new “Triple Black” Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit Utility sneakers, the only footwear in the show, was a perfect choice by Abasi and Rosborough. The collection is both wearable and utilitarian, and that’s always been Abasi Rosborough’s intent. If anyone can bring the juice back to NYFW, it’s these two. Whether we’re headed for a utopia or dystopia is unclear, but the future is bright for Abasi Rosborough.
by Maria Bobila, February 2018
The Cadillac House was packed with eager attendees on Tuesday afternoon, as they waited for Abasi Rosborough's New York Fashion Week: Men's debut. Titled "Utopia/Dystopia," the Fall 2018 collection combines the brand's signatures in tailoring inspired by sport and military with an overarching conversational theme: technology and its advances, from social media and cryptocurrency to the iPhone X's facial recognition system and autonomous cars. "All of these things that can help society can ultimately destroy society," says designer Abdul Abasi.
"Are we leading ourselves into a utopian society or a dystopian society?" asks his partner, Greg Rosborough. "It's a double-edged sword and that's the tip of the iceberg with technology. Where is this taking mankind?"
Singer and songwriter (and Calvin Klein model) Kelela performed on the runway, alongside Abasi's brother and famous guitarist Tosin, as a diverse group of models showcased tailored looks with an Eastern influence in neutral colors, like navys and blacks — zen, peaceful, utopic — that progressed into a more deconstructed and disrupted wardrobe with bright primary colors and bold prints, or the aforementioned dystopia in clothing form.
by Aria Hughes, February 2018
Whether or not technology creates a utopia or distopia was the concept behind Abasi Rosborough's runway debut. Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, the designers behind Abasi Rosborough, have gained a following for updating tailored pieces. Whether or not technology creates a utopia or dystopia was the premise of the line, which infused sportswear with more tailored items. They also brought Eastern details into the lineup with kimono jackets and robes. New York Fashion Week: Men’s has presented a plethora of new takes on tailored clothing with active details. Abasi Rosborough’s collection was one of the more focused and innovative of the bunch.
by Lawrence Schlossman, January 2018
Without sounding hyperbolic, Abasi Rosborough represent the future of fashion design here in New York. With a combined design history that includes stints at brands ranging from Nepenthes to Ralph Lauren, Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough have honed their respective visions into a uniquely unified—yet multi-faceted—lens that fuses the realms of American sportswear, Japanese simplicity, and military precision.
Initially meeting while both attending FIT in NYC, the pair launched their first collection in 2013. Since then, the label has accrued several accolades, including a spot as a 2016 Woolmark Prize Finalist, and a nomination for the LVMH Young Designer Prize earlier this year. More than just innovative tailoring, the label honors the city’s time-tested garment-making tradition; Abasi Rosborough garments are produced ethically in New York with a focus on sustainable and recycled deadstock fabrics.
We sat down with the pair to discuss what it’s like being an independent designer in 2018, menswear’s breakneck hype cycle, and the importance of sustainability in fashion. Scope their self-shot and art-directed editorial (photographed here at Grailed HQ), check out our conversation with the designers and shop a curated selection of archive and one-off sample Abasi Rosborough below.