With their product research and deadstock repurposing, Milan-based brand GR10K splices utilitarian elements and recontextualizes the purpose of garments within an urban design practice.
Deprogramming fashion production through industrial recontextualization, Italian-based brand GR10K has reinterpreted the traditional trajectory of fashion production since its inauguration in early 2019. The brand’s name stems from the factory where it all started—namely Grassi—combined with the code from their most replicated item of clothing, 10,000, typed out as GR10K. “Our mother company generated mainly memories that combined industrialization with fabrics and performance standards, so the core of our memories lie in the understanding of the clothing as a de facto productive and political process, safety classes, and the many compartments of a globalized world that needs a multitude of specialized subjectivities in order to perform,” explains their anonymous founder.
While the brand is secretive, they’re informative enough to forge an opinion and an aesthetic, their identity and ethos becoming clear as one begins to unpack what GR10K stands for. “GR10K does not have a fixed identity,” they explain. “Playing with the grounds of corporate and industrial creativity and their deprogramming of creative subjectivity, GR10K is organized and structured as an anti-identity collaborative group.”
GR10K’s crux explores the dichotomy of industrial-grade workwear and military uniforms, challenging the status quo of said garments whilst exploring the multifarious realms in which the garment can serve its purpose. GR10K is primarily a fashion proxy that gathers and exploits fields of fabrics in an industry that is perpetually seeking to improve itself season after season. “As an idea, GR10K plays with the forces outside of the general focus of the fashion industry. It is best understood as an investigation and critical format of application and deprogramming of cultures and radicalism found in current news and political contexts, as well as closed and inaccessible social groups.” It’s GR10K’s unorthodox approach to fashion production and brand ethos that puts them in a separate category within the contemporary fashion sphere.
By splicing utilitarian elements and recontextualizing the purpose of a garment, GR10K pushes the boundaries for what a brand can represent in the zeitgeist. It’s a medium for discussion and interpretation through clothing production and anonymity. GR10K’s skill set lies in maintaining the original nature of the garment, even after its remains are cut up and sewn back together. Architectural lines and minimalist renderings of what once was encompass each item, bringing back faint memories of its original stature. “As per fabric, working within shapes and details that are born with a purpose allows for a generation of meaningful pieces. The garment tries to stay as close as possible to its original shape, and its fortitude is a balanced result of displacement, use of materials and juxtaposition. The shape becomes a ready non-blank tool to investigate cultures and radicalism.” The motto is simple for GR10K: local community efforts, small network, and quality products.
Deadstock and repurposing are also integral to the brand, as can be seen throughout its many product categories. GR10K is continually approaching sustainability with new angles, trying to find ways to minimize waste; combined with their manifestation of the intrinsic characteristics of a fiber or a fabric, the brand offers clarity to a cause that is trending in the fashion industry and crucial to the environment. GR10K is not producing fashion; it is, however, producing a response to a cataclysmic fashion industry that has deep-rooted faults. By proxy, the company forces itself to work with what they have rather than seek out new fabrics. “Colors, patterns, structures, and consistencies are born out of necessity rather than design. With the possibility of drawing out an actual stock of materials leftover from workwear and military supplies, GR10K invests garments with the narrative of the performance it was originated for.” Elements like this include fireproofed fabrics and water-repellent fabrics, to name a few. “A carbon-fiber ripstop born to prevent ESD (electrostatic discharge), once displaced, opens up to another set of stress factors. In the end, we are constantly understanding what performance displacement is, in fabrics and in culture.”
GR10K is a deeply rooted cluster of thought processes and ideologies echoed through their clothing collections. The brand makes clothes for everyone in search of a cultural kick and for those who are not afraid of merging together. “We mainly use each collection as a way to address and research social pockets and their life and clothing habits. We’re interested in groups or savage structures that are far removed from civil society.” By changing the way they produce clothing and understand consumer buying habits, GR10K’s position is clear: “We do not buy for novelty—we buy out of mimetic behavior. There is no innovation nor origin for what we do. Fashion buying patterns are no-entry continuous loops, surfaces with no depth. Our basic proposal is to provide individual shelter for bypasses in these neutralized lands.”