Bright colors for dark times: Issey Mikyake offers an optimistic view of fashion in the post-COVID era

Each day we engage in the solemn ritual of dressing. Getting dressed is the first step in our communication process with the outside world. These days, there is not much to get dressed for. “These are my COVID sweatpants,” one friend tells me, holding a pair of stained, white sweatpants up to her iPhone camera over FaceTime. Another young woman shows me a crisp, white dress shirt. “I just wear this and shorts during Zoom meetings.” In the age of social isolation, getting dressed up has felt more prosaic than poetic. 

With its latest menswear collection, titled “Meet Your New Self,” Homme Plissé Issey Miyake’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection renews a promise that style and dress are not chores but choices. 

The video opens on a model shedding his beige uniform for brightly colored pieces from the Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Created by Yusuke Kobayashi, this 10-minute film will replace any show that might have taken place before COVID rocked the fashion world. It is a hopeful reflection from a fashion brand that asks what fashion can be—and what it can do—in a time of social isolation. 

The collection does not make any stark or exaggerated departures from the brand’s ethos, but builds on its existing pillars—pleating throughout each piece, oversized silhouettes, and cut and sew practices that allow for maximum movability. 

However, the colors this season do seem brighter. Bright colors for dark times. A renewal of self. A reminder: what we wear outside may just have the power to change how we feel inside.