There is a tenuous link between the products produced by clothing labels such as Rick Owens, Boris Bidjan Saberi, The Viridi-Anne and so forth. Nearly all these brands are inevitably lumped together by the greater fashion community solely for adhering to a similarly “gothic” aesthetic. Perhaps this is due to the versatility of these garments—the ability to wear singular pieces from multiple designers while still maintaining a cohesive look. Generally though, this outlook disregards the individual creativity behind the respective labels.

The stark contrast between these designers is obscured due to an overly-simplified aesthetic—itself the culmination of two distinct design approaches. First, there was the growing avant-garde movement in Japan, with designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto producing unstructured garments and redefining basic wardrobe staples. Meanwhile, in Western Europe, Carol Christian Poell and Paul Harnden began to challenge the predominant idea of avant-garde through unorthodox manufacturing and experimental design techniques. The matrimony of these two separate entities inevitably gave birth to the so-called grandfather of “dark” style—Carpe Diem.

In 1996, based out of Perugia, Italy, Maurizio Altieri founded Carpe Diem. From its inception, the label set itself on a path of innovation that would eventually grow to form the foundation for a global fashion movement. Although the label went defunct in 2006—most likely due to the mass availability of similar brands—Carpe Diem remains relevant not only due to their continued popularity in the goth fashion market, but through a series of brands established by the label’s original four designers. Despite an oversaturated market, Maurizio Altieri and the rest of his team continue to redefine the intersection of avant-garde and artisanal fashion.

Follow Gunner on Instagram here.

Tags: avant-garde, avant-garde-fashion, ma, maurizio-amadei, layer-0, taichi-murakami, label-under-construction, a1923, m-a, carpe-diem