With his SS23 collection, Zeal, Jan-Jan Van Essche continues his path of creating slow, thoughtful fashion. This season in particular was described as a “message of encouragement”, to “reawaken dormancy and to find strength and perseverance from within”. The loose, gender-agnostic garments are shaped in a way that allows the wearer to bring themselves into it, wearing it how they want rather than slotting into a specific form. The natural, calming earth tones in conjunction with the silhouettes provide a sense of ease and comfort common with Van Essche’s work.
The collection is said to be made of “individual garments; each sheltering one’s core with utmost tenderness”. The lightness of the fabrics, like the long sheer linen shirt, imbue the collection with a slightly delicate touch. The relative wearability of pieces like the paper-cotton bomber or the oversized blazer jacket let them blend easily into any wardrobe. All these elements allow the wearer to feel comfortable and confident, present themselves in an honest and earnest way, projecting their inner strength.
Van Essche’s work always feels life-affirming, with a sense of freedom and boundlessness. The clothes have a sense of worldliness to them, emerging from a mixture of cultures to pass through many more. Zeal lives up to its name: a collection of clothes that feel ready-made for those eager and prepared to take on life.