Conflict of Interest NYC & LPD NEW YORK Find Their Highs and Lows

Conflict of Interest NYC (COI NYC) and LPD New York, two brands with roots in streetwear, made names for themselves in 2012 by appropriating iconic fashion ones: in COI NYC-speak Givenchy becomes “Giraunchy” and Balenciaga “Ballinciaga,” while LPD New York creates designer team sports jerseys like “PHILO 73” and “TISCI 74”.

Showing together at the Lightbox last Friday, the Spring/Summer 2013 collections modified both brands’ signature pieces, keeping true to their origins with sneakers and other staples, but moving towards the more avant-garde in details like sweats with a black finish (LPD New York) and innovative prints (COI NYC).

According to LPD New York designer Benjamin Fainlight, streetwear isn’t aspiring to high fashion so much as meeting it in a still-forming middle ground. “I don’t think there are lines anymore,” says the 22-year old. “Streetwear is coming up, and high fashion is coming down.” In moving beyond his signature jerseys, Fainlight hopes to “take the high and the low and interpret it in a whole different way.” His collection did march into new territory: LPD New York’s models’ faces and shoes were smeared with dirt to evoke a post-apocalyptic mood. Lest we failed to notice that all is not well, a long-sleeved tee shirt read “THE START OF BAD THINGS TO COME.”

COI NYC also evolved beyond brand parody. “We wanted to show what the agents are about, so we wanted to actually create the agents’ wardrobe,” says one of the designers, who call themselves “agents” rather than using their real names to protect themselves from legal repercussions. Their wardrobe manifested in a ’80s computer-inspired digital pattern with swarming squares. “We call it ‘recycle,’ but like, ‘re’ – ‘psychal,’ like psychic,” the agent explains. “We take all the different thoughts that we have and the things that we see that are collected in our psyche, then remix it, and put it out in a different way.” Logos were still in most of the looks: most strikingly, “Giraunchy” was stenciled onto a man’s bare chest. A blanket draped on his shoulders (for warmth?) was printed with a kaleidoscopic pattern of the parody logos.

In revealing new dimensions of the labels, the COI NYC and LPD New York collections hinted that the domain of streetwear is developing still–and, if the avenue-long line for Friday’s show is any indication, so is their audience.