24 Sep 2023 By May Ng


The Sportmax Spring Summer 2024 collection emerges from a mirroring refl ection on the CHANGES IN NATURE as well as the NATURE OF CHANGE, tracing an analogy between the seasonal cycles and the equally cyclical battling between tradition and progress; the idea of perpetual regeneration; the resetting of the individual and collective consciousness in a given context, questioning simultaneously the very core of what ‘Natural’ vs ‘Cultural’ means in a world that struggles with reconciling both realms or keeping them in perfect equilibrium. Today’s world is largely dependent on the rapid updating of advanced technology and sophisticated gadgets, spoiled by and addicted to the multi-functions of digital platforms, formatted to be algorithmically connected to speed and instant gratifi cation, hypnotised by the mundane while losing touch with the mystical or contemplative side of things. If we dispense with contemplation, we move dangerously towards desensitisation, becoming voyeurs more than participants; technicians more than poets; followers more than mavericks. In a Post-naturalistic world, while we attempt to capture and ‘rescue’ a certain sense of ‘naturalness’ around us, we still do so by artifi cially containing nature; carefully curating it and obsessively profi ling it, whether behind the glass of a Laboratory cabinet, an interactive museum display, a shop vitrine or a smartphone screen.

So, one can wonder: Will nature, just like ancient rituals, traditions and craftsmanship, also become the ‘memento mori’ of a world of extinct marvels, in which artifi cially generated replicas will be the only way we can experience life in the future?
Is there a future without acknowledgement of the past?
Is artifi cial the new natural?
Is science the new art?
If those questions are at the heart of what motivated the collection’s narrative, it also fi nds resonance in Japanese aesthetics and its various incarnations as a stylistic movement at diff erent historical moments. In the second half of the 19th century, it heavily infl uenced the organic dynamism of Art Nouveau and the fashions of the Belle Epoque and later translated into the high stylisation of the 1920s, up to its most recent re-emergence in the late 90s, when it inspired the poetic futuristic wave of that period, embraced by countless rising and consecrated artists in music, fi lm and fashion (such as Björk emulating an android Geisha for her ‘Homogenic’ cover or Madonna’s alter ego during her ‘Ray of Light’ era).