"Mercy" by Ashton Michael

As a self-identified storyteller, I believe that are many different ways that people share their thoughts; verbally, audibly, visually, textually, etc. I've even seen it in the way people dress themselves. But seeing a story unfold on a runway is an entirely different experience.

A few weeks ago, I attended the Ashton Michael "Mercy" Collection show and got to understand how fashion is an extension of the designer's mind.

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The models were all different, ranging in skin color to piercings, tattoos, hairstyle, etc. This type of model diversity (I use this term loosely because there's still a lot more diversity that needs to be done when it comes to fashion) reinforces the idea of unconventionality. Each look was different and I could only see it belong to the body of that particular model, some pieces were more conservative and some were more revealing, some were just drop-dead beautiful. What I found most interesting is that every model had rope tied around them in some way, whether it was as a belt, a harness or somewhere in between. Additionally, the colors were rather neutral - Black & off-white but with blue accents. 

From conceptualization to execution, the purpose of the show came clearer to me with every strut down the walk.

White and black are a representation of light and dark, a balance of good vs evil that keeps us earthly, but for the color to be off-white represents the idea that we're not wholly pure. However, light blues are a heavenly color, representing piety. It's a color of bliss. The show itself was held at sunset, the end of day and symbolically (when contrasted with sunset) the end of life. Combine those nuances with the rope and the naming convention, and the "Mercy" Collection was literally "tying" together its message - Although we're unconventional, although we may do bad and although we may not be pure, we are still heavenly creatures. The show is a literal request for mercy.

This is my interpretation of it and while some may think I'm crazy, I found it clear, and I found it beautiful. I'm the first to tell you I'm not religious, but I do identify as spiritual, and the visceral representation of the collection truly felt like a revelation.

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 Ashton Hirota pictured on the right

Ashton Hirota pictured on the right

If I'm being quite honest, I don't know how an invitation to the show popped up in my email. I know the invitation said I came recommended by a reader of Kode Magazine, but I didn't know who. I still don't. But as I learn to relinquish the "how" from the universe, I'm continually trying to focus on the "what" and the "why." 

I believe my "what and why" revolve around the spiritualism I felt from the show. I connected with the collection on a level I didn't think was possible when it comes to my view of fashion. I've always seen it as an expression of one's self, but I've never quite grasped it to be a revelation of an artist's thoughts. Because of the show, and Ashton Hirota, I feel a deeper appreciation for fashion and how it truly a form of art. *cues Ugly Betty "Smokin' Hot" moment*  (Quick note: Designer, Ashton Hirota, has designed for figures like J.Lo, Usher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce. I'm still shook)