Image courtesy of Moncler.


By Alice Butterlin

With an event at the Parisian nightclub Silencio, Sergio Zambon presented a special 2 Moncler 1952 capsule for Spring/Summer 2020 with none other than the infamous streetwear designer Angelo Baque, the mastermind behind Supreme’s biggest hits and the creator of his own brand Awake since 2012. We got a chance to catch up with the two designers to discover a bit more about this intriguing collaboration and their personal style. A born and bread New-Yorker, fan of hip-hop and youth culture meets an effortlessly chic Italian designer who reinvents the Moncler heritage day by day.

Sergio, why did you choose Awake to collaborate on the 2 Moncler 1952 2020 collection? What were you looking for exactly?

Sergio: I’ve been collaborating since the first season doing 2 Moncler 1952. When I had to create a collection for Spring/Summer 2020, I saw Angelo’s collection in Slam Jam, a shop near my house in Milano. I asked the owner of Moncler if we could do a collaboration with Awake because it felt like a very cool brand. I went back to the heritage of the Paninari, an Italian movement of kids wearing Timberland shoes and Moncler jackets. There is a song from The Petshop Boys about them. Even if it looks like a very luxurious brand, I want to incorporate what is really cool. Moncler’s owner liked what Angelo was doing so we contacted him.

You were looking for a youthful touch for this collection?

Sergio: I’m not necessarily looking for youth elements because it would end up kind of fake. I often went to the Slam Jam shop, I saw what he was doing and I loved it. Especially the t-shirt with Michelle Obama, the sense of color and the Awake style in general. As I was saying before, when I make projects, I like to work in different fields, not only the design aspect. Collaboration is a growth for me.

Angelo, what was your vision of the Moncler Genius initiative before working with Sergio Zambon? Were you interested in that project?

Angelo: For me, it was more about the iconic Moncler silhouettes that tie back to the New York City youth culture. Like the vest that we did, the bubble jacket…certain pieces that are in the same vein as a Nike Air Force 1 or a North Face jacket. It is very much part of the New York DNA. Over the last 15/20 years, that was my image of Moncler, from the landscapes of New York City fashion. I can’t tell you about the heritage of 1952 but more about my own experience with the brand. I’ve seen how it’s been appropriated by NYC youth and when Sergio hit me up, I was like: “fuck yeah! I want to do something with you guys.”.

How would you describe this New York style that you reference a lot in your Awake collections?

Angelo: It’s more about attitude. At this point, it can also be very derogatory to say that New York is only a pair of Timberlands and a puffy jacket. It’s deeper than that, there’s a lot of history of music, art, film that go into what it is to have the “New York style”. That doesn’t really exist anymore because New York has been so diluted. Most people who live there are not from there. The city has always been a crossroads. In the 80s and 90s, some people were from New York and some people were not and it was cool, it was more of a mix. Now, the ratio is way off. It feels like 90% of people are not from there and they’re not cool.  The 10% of natives that live there have their own state of mind, their own attitude. The way we walk, the way we talk… just like a native Parisian or someone who’s actually from Milan. When you’re born in the city, you have that little extra step.

In this collection for 2 Moncler 1952, what would you say are the elements that evoke the New York City attitude?

Angelo: It’s definitely the bubble vest. But I also wanted to transcend New York. At this point, a sweat-suit is something global. It’s not just what Italian guys wear or what hip-hop people wear…

Sergio: It’s all about the sizing. An Italian finance guy will wear his suits tight and blue while kids will wear oversized pieces in different colors.

Music wise, what were your inspirations for this collection? Did any music movement spark your interest in particular?

Sergio: For me, it’s very simple, it’s the Moncler vest… you were mentioning 1952, it’s the name of the fashion part of Moncler. Angelo is talking about the iconic New York look and I’m talking about the iconic look of Moncler which is basically one bubble jacket and one bubble vest. It’s a very similar approach in the end. The inspiration wasn’t about music but about the iconic Moncler vest and what I saw from Angelo’s collections which were hoodies and t-shirts. It’s coming together with iconic pieces from both sides.

Angelo: Personally, I’m listening to A Boogie and Pop Smoke because that’s the energy I’m interested in. There are still interesting movements happening in New York City, like Brooklyn Drill, even though Pop Smoke has past away. It’s that 10% I’m talking about. That’s where it starts and then it spreads out where I can see someone like Sergio wearing the tracksuit or the vest.

What was your process while working together?

Sergio: By email. (laughs) I think we understood each other really fast. One of my first ideas was using the Moncler logo to incorporate the Awake one. It was a sort of teaser on a product.

What did the name “Awake” evoke to you?

Sergio: I didn’t analyze it, because for me, when I see a phrase or a logo, it’s about beauty, aesthetic and sound. I don’t try to find an explanation; I just love the logo. I’ve never asked myself why Supreme is called Supreme. Maybe it’s my culture. Beauty and aesthetic suffice.

Angelo, you were one of the designers responsible for elevating street wear to what it is today. What is the secret to making street wear a luxury item?

Angelo: The secret is to not make it into a luxury item. The minute you make it precious, it’s not fun anymore. I lose my inspiration if my goal is to create a 5000$ item. That was never my objective. I always wanted to design clothes that me and my friends would want to wear. Moncler is our only luxury collaboration for the year. This is cool but then I’m going back doing projects for Reebok or Levi’s. It’s about finding the balance.

Sergio: For me it’s different because, as I said, I work in different brands and houses. I worked at Fendi for a long time, it was my school. Fendi is extreme luxury. Then I worked for Harley Davidson, Acne Studios… so I’m all about layering things together. I always believe one person’s style can be a referential to a lot of different things which are nice and pure. Everything nice and pure can be mixed if it’s respectful. A tracksuit can be paired with some expensive loafers. It’s a real learning experience, working with different approaches and realities.

Sergio, you’ve been working in fashion for many decades. What is your view on street wear and how it has evolved through the years?

Sergio: I actually always believed that certain generic styles seen on the street – without specifically referring to street wear – would infiltrate fashion. When I look back at my work for Fendi, I used to work with graphic artists from London to create t-shirts. I don’t come from street wear but my approach was always contemporary. I always draw inspiration from youth and work wear.

Are you the kind of people who have a daily uniform or do you like to experiment a lot with your own outfits?

Angelo: I’m a t-shirt guy. I love having a band t-shirt. I’ll probably wear a t-shirt till the day I die. I’m not married to any bottom, though. I can’t say that I’m always in a pair of Levi’s 501s because it depends on the mood. The truth is I have a lot of t-shirts but I only wear my three favorites.

Sergio: I remember I was in Tokyo once and bought two chinos from A.P.C then I ordered a dozen Hanes Beefy t-shirts, white, green and black. I also bought Birkenstocks. And for six months, I was only wearing these items. Then suddenly, I started wearing lots of different things. But I have kind of a basic look, with lots of sweatshirts. For example, I recently discovered this Canadian brand called Reigning Champ. They do very nice fleece.

How do you see the future of fashion? A sort of hybrid?

Sergio: I always believed that if it is respectful and it works, then it’s a good mixture. People don’t want to wear the same uniform everyday… or sometimes it’s cool to have a uniform.

The collection is available online on Awake NY and Moncler.

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