London based designer duo, Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen presented the KAWAkEY Fall/Winter 2022 sustainable collection in a film titled “Secrets Under the Bed.”
“Secrets Under the Bed”
We have fantasies and secrets we are ashamed of, hidden and tucked away under our beds. Yet, sometimes we think of them and they awake up from the darkness and come alive, they are part of us and who we are.
Key reflects his teenage year experience: “As gay and on the spectrum being a teenager was sometimes rather lonely. I imagined characters to be friends with as I felt no one else could understand me. I also realized some of them in the form of love and erotic themed manga drawings. It was pure imagination – a form of escapism and self-expression at that time.
Once my drawings were found and they raised conversation and concern within my family. I was ashamed and didn’t know who to talk to. I buried all those fantasies, under my bed and hoped they would never see daylight again. Even after all these years, I can still remember those characters and stories I created, they must have had great meaning to me, there is no way I can forget them. They are still reminding me who I was, who I am.”
Overt time, tucked away things get faded, moth-eaten and dusty. In this collection KAWAkEY uses digital prints on various kinds of Tencel satin and BCI cotton twills to imitate these effects – layered prints and textures dissolve into each other. Mohair/ Alpaca blended yarns are knitted with unique gradients effect to reinterpret fabric fades in an exaggerated form, then heavily brushed to imitate a worn out romantic knits.
KA WA KEY has been rebranded as KAWAkEY, one single word with second “k” in lower case letter, making it look like a typo. “We see the beauty of imperfection. Sometimes when experimenting textile treatments and pattern cutting we just cannot avoid errors or failures, which can be very inspiring and uniquely beautiful.”
Reimagining traditional textile crafts with sustainable materials and practices, KAWAkEY is a London-based label designing deconstructed knitwear and prints that bring new emotions and ideas into a genderless wardrobe with vivid colourways and unexpected proportions.
Key Chow, originally from Hong Kong, graduated from the Royal College of Art in London with a Master’s degree in Fashion (Knitwear). He was nominated as one of the finalists at the H&M design award for his graduate collection, which was selected to be exhibited at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He believes that knitting and crafting are ways for sincere expression of emotional vulnerability.
Finnish Jarno Leppanen has a cross-artistic background and holds a Master’s degree in Arts. With a cross-disciplinary take, he devises their unique design language into collaborative poetical works. He is currently an MSc student majoring in Sustainable Development.