The Agender Agenda: Marcelo Burlon
Part three of a series
Tearing down tired taboos and referencing nostalgic throwbacks to the naughties, neutrois, street style, moody fashion and murky aesthetic undercurrents, creatives like Kaimin, Christopher Shannon, Stéphane Ashpool, Shayne Oliver, Marcelo Burlon and boychild are setting the tone for unflinching individualism and a brazen disregard for gender expectations. This alpha crop of originators, amongst others, are rattling up the fashion world with their take on gender fluidity, andro-glam, the street, epicene beauty, and invigorating, liberating aesthetics—just think of Shayne Oliver’s indelible id explorations, or Rick Owens’ provocative pecker flaps, or boychild’s glitched-out, autoerotic ka-pows. These avant-guardians are embracing the art world’s post-modern, post-gender transgressive sensibility. Call it the new ‘Agender Agenda’—that is, fashion that celebrates crossover culture, sexual iconoclasm, radical openness and transpersonal progress. That means macho suits and machine gun boots for chicks, skirts, shift shirts, and plexiglass collars for dudes, and ontological-esthetic upheavals across-the-board—what the futurist Ray Kurzweil calls “a phase change in the consciousness of man.” It’s a cultural stirring that at once tethers and liberates gender identity and reveals the ambivalence and elasticity of social archetypes. It’s no wonder that trans trailblazers like Andreja Pejić, Hari Nef, Laverne Cox, and Caitlyn Jenner are fashion’s shit-hot avatars, ripping up the web, burning up pop-culture and breaking down gender binaries; and auteurs like Wu Tsang, Dia Dear and Junglepussy provide killer, campy cosmographies and trans-femme perspectives that enlighten and inform us all. Phhhhewww, post-modernism never felt so good—and the clothes look pretty fuckin’ cool, too! Here are a few of our fave disruptors and déconstructors, with quick-fire Q&A’s to follow. KA-BOOM!
County of Milan | Marcelo Burlon is the maverick polymath and print-smith with a paternal instinct
Hailing from Argentina and now hq’d in Milano, Marcelo Burlon is the prolific polymath, PR guru, event planner, DIY designer and jack of all trades. He makes clothing that puts mucho pep in your step. Using club culture, indigenous themes and underground music as catalysts (he’s the former gate-keeper at Magazzini Generali, one of Milan’s most notorious nightspots and rollicking sound hubs), Marcelo’s creations are full of vigor and confidence and take the idea of gender neutral fashion and streetwear to new, unexpected territories—think hoodies, shift shirts and sweats splashed with laser-printed serpents, silhouettes embellished with cyborgs, birds of prey, gasmasks and his very own symbology that subsumes and celebrates ‘radical multiculturalism’ and gender indifference. Note: Marcelo subjects his creative output to a strategic process of multiple encoding; he ingeniously transforms a rational design vocabulary into an ecstatic and subliminal dimension. With Riccardo Tisci as a bestie and a ridiculously robust client roster that includes Nike, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela and Raf Simons, Marcelo interweaves fashion, production, photography, art, deej’ing, styling and editing into one bang-up vocation.
Your fashion seems to be a sizzling synthesis of disparate genres, genders and cultures. Can you talk about that?
I don’t see any divisions or frictions. I see human beings for their humanity, diversity and different cultural values. Every person is unique, and that’s incredibly interesting and uplifting. I try to channel that ethos into my work, from fashion to music to photography, etc.
The graphics on your garments are the slickest and sickest we’ve seen. What references/experiences in your life inspired them?
They all originate from personal experiences. They come from things like my roots/heritage, the esoteric symbols of Argentinean aborigines, 90s club culture, and the richness and diversity of South America and my ancestral homeland.
What’s your favorite look? Why?
My favorite look is the wing prints because they depict freedom. I believe in creative freedom and I design from a passionate and free place. I’m also fond of the snake imagery, and the feather prints that represent my somewhat controversial hometown, El Bolson.
Your designs for County of Milan seem to embody underground culture and cryptic meaning. What subcultures do you fancy as a source of inspiration?
Today, with the internet and globalization, everything has become almost universal—genuine subcultures are fairly scarce these days; simulacra are everywhere. I’m attracted to all the authentic weirdos, freaks and street kids who manage to be unique and stand out from the masses. I look to distinct and inventive subcultures for inspiration.
What is your Wild Wish?
To have a relaxing life on my farm in Patagonia one day and to be a good dad.