Rachel Lynne Jones and graphic artist Calvin Joseph believe that the role and function of style should be viewed as a means to express and shape individual identities.
Stemming from the motivation to create the perfect unisex T-shirt, the designers behind local fashion line William Rhys demonstrate that fashion has no gender.
“We started by making one unisex T-shirt and that sort of concept and ideology followed up into different products,” Jones says. “We thought if our line could inspire people to dress uniquely and to express what they feel internally, that would be the perfect outcome of a garment, so to speak.”
On Oct. 24, the designers hope to share that dialogue with others along with showcasing their newest ready to wear collection at their event, The Style Exhibition. The event will take place at The Good Will Social Club, and will feature DJs Andy2K and Jordan Vothra.
“It’s not a fashion show,” Jones says. “We’re inviting guests to come dress uniquely and express themselves that way because it’s truly an art form.”
Jones and Joseph met more than a year ago and began bonding at dance parties. They have been combining their personal creativity ever since.
“My background is graphic design and designing and art, so I really like the fine art of things, and she really likes the fashion and styling of things,” Joseph says.
Championing clean lines and neutral palettes, the state of minimalism ebbs and flows in William Rhys’ silky, gender-neutral designs. Pieces like the “Naked Dress” and the “Unisex Tee” that embody the brand’s striped-down finesse will make an appearance at the event.
Among other things, The Style Exhibition presents itself as an opportunity for collective cohesion between other artists. Jones and Joseph both agree that the style community here in Winnipeg is beginning to strengthen its revival.
“It’s nice to see that people here are not only just starting things, but are also pushing hard. Like, Tony Chestnut is pushing really hard, and even Lennard Taylor opened up his own store now. It’s nice to see that people are making an emphasis and we just came in at the right time,” Joseph says.
“Because we have such a demand for everything, everyone is like ‘Yes, let’s support each other,’ as opposed to competing against each other in a large city. That’s the beautiful thing about this community,” Jones says. “Just because this city isn’t booming and it isn’t filled with a strong fashion community doesn’t mean that it can’t one day be a niche here.”
If coming together under one roof and connecting over an art form isn’t enough to entice you, the designers urge you to still come simply to dress up.
“If you want the opportunity to just go out and be crazy, maybe wear your prom dress and put on tons of jewelry, this is the opportunity to do it. Let’s play dress-up,” Joseph says.
Published in Volume 70, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 22, 2015)