Via crackling WiFi connection, NAMESAKE’s Creative Director Steve Hsieh reflects on the horrors he  endured at a fraudulent Buddhist camp at the tender age of seven, whereby a cohort of youth under- went abuse and labor with cries for help only to echo off the gates of injustice. “We can only  understand happiness when there’s grief, we can only find peace when we’ve been through the waves,” Hsieh mutters. These mental and physical scars are hurdles to overcome, hurdles he’s ridden over  with his brothers by uncovering traumas. These personal anecdotes set the foundation for NAME- SAKE’s AW23 collection.

With each jump of a hurdle, the discipline of equestrianism comes to mind as a metaphor for life’s journey. Horse riding is one of the oldest forms of commuting. In the Han dynasty, horses became associated with the dragon and were assigned supernatural qualities such as the ability to fly. In  poems and relics, the horse continues to represent peace, victory, and in the Hsieh family: tenaci- ty.  

“As riders in life, we think we are in control; however, our unexplored fate and future are actually dependent on where the horse decides to take us.” Hsieh continues, “our ability to stay on the horse depends on how we adapt to the journey through awareness and mindfulness, all while carrying the baggage and treasures that life has dealt us along the way.” 

Riding their life journey through sports, the Hsieh brothers recalled developing this mentality  through the ethics of basketball. Flicking a ball through the net may seem easy, but the game sur- rounding this action stems from teamwork, training, and self-discovery. These qualities champion  NAMESAKE’s AW23 collection, where tales from Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant run through the ebbs and flows of garments. 

Pulling from the fringes of literature, art and film, the lessons learnt in companionship via Stuart: A Life Backwards is meddled with the meaningful choices seen in Jared Leto-fronted sci-fi film Mr. Nobody or the struggles of ambition in 1994 sporting-doc Hoop Dreams. The balance of opposites continues to be a recurring theme in NAMESAKE’s design language. Like Philadelphia’s Fletcher Street Urban horse riding v.s. polo horse riding, the Hsieh brothers are also outsiders of the Fashion Week landscape, underdogs with qualities of patience and diligence, reflecting on the meaning of fate v.s. destiny. 

The layering for the cooler season embodies the coating of life lessons. The exploration in washed techniques are synonymous with the unfamiliar territories we’ve all trailed past. The extended and improved accessories’ collection; a nod to the seeds left along the road for others to arrive at their own meaning of tenacity.  

These narratives are seeped into various techniques: from micro-knifing leather, hand-painted leath- er, multi-layered cracked leather, debossed herringbone leather, glitched laser effects, and washed  acetate textiles. Experimented on Y2K Ura-Harajuku souvenir jackets and LA Lakers NBA championship leather jackets, these canvases tell tales of those who triumphed atop old gymnasium wooden floor panels or fallen from horseback.