ASYMPTOTE, a new brand from designer WK Jackson, is setting out to manipulate menswear mainstays with touches of subtle (often historical) detailing for their debut SS15 collection. An asymptote, if you’re like me and slept through 5th period geometry, is a line that a curve approaches, as it heads towards infinity. It’s derived from the Greek word asumptotos, meaning “not falling together”. So as you can imagine, this romantic, textural collection is heavily draped, layered, and includes what will surely become brand mainstays like kimonos morphed into shirts, shirt collars extended into pleated scarves, and silk taffetas cut into tailored capes.

For this collection, Jackson chose to zero in on French painter Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps and his Turkish merchant painting from the 1800’s. He contrasted this with early 1980’s sportswear — with a nod to Savile Row tailoring (where the term bespoke is said to have originated). This is evidenced in the over-the-shoulder seaming emphasizing masculine broad shoulders and high-waisted tapered pants further underlining the “V” shape of the silhouettes.


I spoke with WK Jackson to get his take on modern menswear as well as some key details to what inspired the collection.


Fucking Young: A lofty question to begin, but what is your take on the state of modern menswear today versus, say, five years ago, or perhaps pre-social media?

WK Jackson: Once menswear pushed past its need to show authenticity, such as Italian suits, flannel and jeans, khakis and boat shoes, we began to see men wanting to show their individuality through what they wear. This means more opportunity for small and exclusive designers to produce interesting styles that set the wearer apart. It seems that in the past decade, menswear has grown in creativity, designers, and value. Social media has accelerated this significantly. Fashion is social, so as a man, if you are maybe dissatisfied with the choices you’ve seen, and don’t have a group of friends who can point you in an interesting direction, maybe you find what you love on social media.


Fucking Young: Are there specific references or periods throughout history that inspired you most?

WK Jackson: I looked at Futurism paintings, traditional East Asian silhouettes, and 80’s activewear for inspiration. That is quite a spread, I know, but they are solidly connected in movement, action, and color theory.


Fucking Young: When fusing two disparate ideas together, how do you know if you’re onto something exciting or whether or not they aren’t meant to coalesce?

WK Jackson: Inspiration can come from anywhere. An old song, a friend’s story, even just sitting in Tompkins Square Park. Rarely is any one creation inspired by one thing, so as inspiration builds, designs come to light. The creative light is ephemeral, it is not an intellectual endeavor. Other than being personally excited about an idea, there is no knowing ahead of time. Editing, however, is a very thought out process, very intellectual. I think Hemingway said ‘write drunk, edit sober’. Remove everything that has no purpose, then remove one more thing.


Fucking Young: Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?

WK Jackson: I love the silk parachute track-jacket. It is shiny but modest. I am going to wear mine out.


Fucking Young: What did you learn about yourself throughout production of the line?

WK Jackson: If I am not designing the most interesting thing, telling the most interesting story I possibly can, then I need to stop and start over.


Fucking Young: It might be a little soon for this question, but what’s next? Or what would you like to be next?

WK Jackson: ASYMPTOTE is an inclusive effort to make beautifully exclusive clothes. I’d like to offer womenswear and accessories, but that is a ways off. I’d like to collaborate with guest designers for the brand in the distant future. Right now though, I am excited to design interesting and unique clothes for men who are looking for more variety in their wardrobe.