Artisanal and avant-garde labels don’t appeal to mainstream tastes. Plain and simple. It’s “exactly what’s written on the tin.” In this space, there’s a lot of asymmetric hems, drop-crotch pants and aggressively unusual silhouettes and—from an outsider’s perspective—the fans of avant-garde labels like Boris Bidjan Saberi, Yohji Yamamoto and Paul Harnden look at best poorly dressed, and at worst homeless. If anything, it only confirms just how forward-thinking these labels are. Perhaps these labels’ greatest strength—or weakness, depending who you ask—is their heavy reliance upon dark-colored clothes. While these labels have proven time and again that their respective works are well beyond the cliché that black is “the most fashionable color,” it’s hard to ignore the reality that many brands’ collections consist of black pants, black shirts and black outerwear (occasionally including complementary monochromatic pieces, like white or grey shirts). To put it simply, there’s a reason that these labels are often referred to as “goth” by their fans. Despite the frequency of all-black looks, there are several strong examples of avant-garde brands showing collections rich with color. A variety of brands do excellent work with lush patterns and bold tones, belying their reputations as peddlers of sartorial darkness.

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Tags: rick-owens, yohji-yamamoto, boris-bidjan-saberi, damir-doma