Tuesday, October 5, 2010

on the radar: dark by fusion

by frédérik sisa

Created by Darius B. Gibbs, Dark by Fusion is a collection of men’s apparel described as a “premium lifestyle brand” with “street credibility and edge that will bring it to the forefront of fashion.” It’s one of three lines by Fusion Apparels, the other two being Light by Fusion (women) and Fusion Executive (professional men). As far as I can tell, Dark is the only one with a web presence at the moment at Fusion Apparels' website.

When I first read the press release for Dark, I was excited. A new men’s line with an eye to the street rather than the catwalk is noteworthy. But how does Dark measure up to marketing? Let’s take a look.

This ensemble doesn’t start on a promising note, seeing as it’s really just another incarnation of the shirt and jeans look. I don’t dig the pants tucked into heavy shoes, which creates a sloppy appearance, and the mixed colour palette contributes to an unfocused look. The shirt, however, does redeem itself. It buttons up yet is collarless, which makes it the interesting and compelling spawn of a polo shirt and a Nehru jacket.

The suspicion that Dark is stronger on details than in gestalts continues with these close-ups. In this image, the contrasting edge colour of the pocket adds interest, while the jacket cuff’s good ol’ industrial ornament, the zipper, proves to be a very robust design choice.

In looking at the embroidered patch above the left breast pocket and printed numbers/letters – all dependable design elements –the military/industrial theme of the collection becomes a bit more insistent…

…as we can see in this ensemble, which looks clean-lined and tailored like a classic army uniform. The combination of tie and shorts creates a fascinating tension between formal and casual within the same outfit, and shows some good design acumen.

Workers of the world unite! It’s the cap and hopeful gazing out into the distance that does clinches it as a poster for the socialist revolution, not to mention the uniform-like nature of the shirt and tie.

Where Dark really starts going beyond conventional good design to the inspired is with this combination of shorts and dip-dyed shirt. The way the colour of the rolled up sleeves matches the lower half of the shirt shows great attention to detail, and the colour gradient as a whole works smoothly to emphasize body form. Again, that same tension between formal and casual, in part from the tie and shorts but also from taking a long-sleeved shirt, rolling up the sleeves, and pairing it with knee-length shorts. They have a few other dip-dyed options in the collection, and I’ll be curious to see how they expand on this in future collections.

Also a good direction for Dark is this v-neck confection with a classic contrast: white lining on black. The patterned fabric at the v-neck adds a touch of surprise, which makes this piece stand out from the ordinary.

While I can’t say that Dark by Fusion captures my imagination or fits with my own personal style or preferences (except in a general sense, as I do like proletarian sensibilities in my choice of fashions) I am intrigued by the line’s potential. I can easily see this collection fitting into a lineup from the style mavens at ASOS or Topman. At the least, this is one to keep on the radar. What do you think?

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