Looking Inward for Autumn/Winter 2021, Jonathan Marc Stein Seeks to Heal Others
Jonathan Marc Stein Autumn/Winter 2021
Photo: Jonathan Marc Stein
Moving beyond designing fashion to simply create a new seasonal collection, Jonathan Marc Stein focused on looking inward to relay the importance of issues that are impacting society. As the Los Angeles designer developed his Autumn/Winter 2021 collection, which was designed under the theme of “forbidden love” that connects with love of self, he wanted to become a greater positive influence.
“The most important part was bringing attention to these major life issues and the news because I did create my finale piece as a suit, a hat and a bag completely made out of 100 percent recycled materials—100 percent recycled newspaper—and each individual article that I used on this newspaper suit was relevant to the news,” Stein explained. “I used ones that were related to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Black Lives Matter and COVID, and I think so many designers focus on their clothes and luxury. I want to bring attention to issues that matter in this world.”
According to Stein, the collection used 50 percent or more recycled materials in an effort to promote sustainability.
“This is a collection I used maybe 50 percent or more was recycled materials and upcycled leather versus buying new leather. That goes against the animal farming industry,” Stein explained. “I wanted to be a little more sustainable for this collection”
Tackling serious issues as a fashion designer allowed Stein to also move out of the comfort zone found in his typical aesthetic. Rather than including brighter colors, which are part of his normal color scheme, Stein designed in shimmery sequined black, rich navy, seductive maroon, dark glittering silver, cool gunmetal, deep emerald and intense ruby red. With a background in mechanical engineering, the silhouettes of the Jonathan Marc Stein Autumn/Winter 2021 collection illustrated the finely tuned skills of the designer and the precision with which he creates.
“This time I had more time to think about it. I could pull out looks that I wasn’t 100 percent sure with. I could involve and train myself more and update my skills. I spent longer on this collection than I have on any other collection,” Stein explained. “Not only did I evolve as a designer, I evolved my skills and I learned new techniques.”
Wanting to make a difference in the world, rather than simply design luxurious pieces, Stein also began working with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as a way to help during a time when the mental health has become a great concern. Drawn to NAMI’s mission due to the mental-health struggles of his loved ones—some of whom lost the battle—Stein decided to donate all proceeds from the sale and promotion of the Autumn/Winter 2021 collection to the organization. In addition to enlisting models to show looks from the collection, Stein also had assistance from members of his well-known clientele, including Gretchen Rossi of the “Real Housewives of Orange County;” Megan Pormer, actor and model; and Shannon Baker, actor, who were all happy to lend their celebrity to Stein’s cause.
“They have millions of followers and this huge platform to allow this change to happen. Whether we like it or not, people don’t really listen to normal people. They listen to celebrities who are their role models. [Rossi, Pormer and Baker] didn’t ask for anything. They just wanted to be a part of it. They were so welcoming and gracious that they could be a part of it,” Stein said. “It tells a story that people who are going through these things see that this luxury designer is aware of them and wants to help out rather than just make money.”