The most common usage of the word phenomenon refers to an extraordinary event, with multiple witnesses, without any clear or even apparent explanation, basically, the kind of thing that would have Mulder and Scully booking plane tickets to some quirky small town locale. This concept of the word phenomenon also implies a built in end date, thanks to the focus on the unusual nature of whatever’s happening. The assumption is that eventually, the phenomenon will stop and everything will return to normal.
There is another understanding of the word phenomenon as a philosophical concept, stemming from the Greek roots of the word, which roughly means to manifest itself. This usage doesn’t have an inherent connection to the paranormal, but its effect on the notion of normality is arguably greater.
In philosophy, a phenomenon is something that is experienced by the physical senses. This school of thought posits that the physical observation of a phenomenon is the exclusive basis of reality. Because every person experiences things differently, according to their own senses, it would be impossible to experience an objective, ideal version of any given item.
When it comes to a clothing label called Phenomenon, with an established reputation for putting unexpected twists on classic, recognizable garments, the easy route would be to tie it into the common usage of the word, play up the weird and wild nature of the construction, and call it a day, but that would only scratch the surface of what makes Phenomenon intriguing.
Take the Denim Kimono Jacket from Phenomenon’s latest collection; in the simplest terms, this piece is a normal denim jacket, it performs the same function as a traditionally cut denim jacket, and is ready to wear. It is only unusual because of our own learned expectations about how this item is supposed to look.
Detractors might decry the experimental aesthetic of Phenomenon as weird for its own sake, and possibly too “out there” to be worn in day to day life. Those who get it will understand that Phenomenon’s twisted yet wearable versions of the familiar subvert our own expectations of what is normal. The only limits are in your own imagination.
Photography: Tommy Boudreau
Styling: Ricky Orng
Talent: Vlai Ly