One of the most fundamental requirements to building a successful business is branding. It is often said that an image can only become iconic if it is repeated often enough (occasionally with subtle variations) that it burns into your retinas and lingers long after the curtains close. At this point, the image becomes associated with the brand - think Madonna and her infamous JPG cone bra, or Grace Jones and her iconic flat-top. With this collection, it's clear that Ada & Nik are creating with the intent to cement their signature aesthetic; as for their iconic intentions, the 'What Would James Dean Do?' tees are proof enough that they had at least one icon in mind when crafting this collection.
Entitled 'Carpe Noctem' (Latin for 'seize the night'), Spring Summer 2015 saw the duo take the dark aesthetic of their previous collection and push it into new territory. The brand staples were all there - the mesh and leather-panelled T-shirts, the signature leather jackets and the knee-length shirts teamed with bare legs were fresh reincarnations of some of last season's most memorable looks. There were also a few impressive new looks which came from the designers' choice to stray from their usual monochrome palette and play with metallics; one of the stand-out pieces of the show was the pair of wide-leg metallic silver shorts that opened the show. Elsewhere, black sweatshirts were decorated with raised triangular prints introducing a new, textural element When teamed with slouchy black trousers (which, upon closer inspection, featured Lichtenstein-style white dots on a black background to create the illusion of block-colour grey), the look was an effortlessly cool expansion of the brand's signature aesthetic. The final undisputed standout was the short leather dungarees - a radical new take on a garment still rarely seen on men. Like the jumpsuit last season, Ada & Nik specialise in expanding the horizon of menswear, incorporating dropped hemlines and half-kilts into a collection underpinned by its affilitation with mascline rogues. By subtly referencing feminine silhouettes in a collection defined by its alpha-male swagger,, the duo are arguably doing more to further the progression of androgyny than any other designer.
Going back to the bad-boy imagery, it's worth noting that the Ada & Nik brand has a strong relationship with 'NJoy' e-cigarettes, to the extent that the show's finale saw one of the cast's bad boys strutting down the runway with an e-cig in hand a smirk on his face. It's these subtle touches that reinforce the more ethical sensibilities behind the brand. By using byproduct leathers and shearlings and promoting a switch to the healthier e-cigarettes, the pair demonstrate a key understanding of the need to consider every element of the production process. In a world where the 'Inside-Out' Fashion Revolution and stories of abuse in sweatshops are heavily discussed by the fashion process, designers need to carefully consider their production choices to win over the modern consumer. In this respect, Ada & Nik have established a unique formula - a bad boy exterior with a heart of gold.