“Usually I design and whatever comes out is whatever I’m living through or what’s going on in the moment…that’s how things work, right?” Chris Leba remarked over Zoom. “Lots of people go on vacation — they’re inspired by Jamaica, or wherever — so to me, it’s this lockdown and the way we’re living, what we’re wearing, what we’re yearning for, that comes out when we sit down and start designing.…It’s really an expression of the times.”
Last season, the pandemic-induced quarantine had the R13 designer focusing on the brand’s core items, and he furthered this idea into pre-fall with an emphasis on an ultra-cool take on the at-home uniform. Leba offered baggy sweatsuit sets (a nod to Billie Eilish) and signature graphic T-shirts (this season featuring The Clash) paired with bleached oxford shirts, camel mohair fleece knits and loads of edgy, intriguing jackets.
The designer leaned into lingerie, referencing the casualization of the category at home, unseen through Zoom screens. “We could all be in our underwear and not know,” he joked, adding, “Underwear becomes a thing because you’re seeing it, whereas before, you don’t see it as often.” Bralette and brief sets cool-y juxtaposed Leba’s more structured garb, offering a playful, rebellious spirit to functional, comfortable dress. Additionally, he continued to bring forth R13’s punk-infused ethos through reworked archival pieces: flannel in the form of a bleached-out dress or denim reworked in leopard and rugged khaki or accessorized with skinny suspenders emblazoned with the “F” word (another nod to spring).
Overall, Leba’s take on “life in lockdown” served up a rebellious, girl power attitude with clothes to match.