Imitation of Christ Turned an L.A. Skate Park Into a Runway for Spring/Summer '21 Couture

The cult-favorite label's upcycled collection is shoppable now at The Real Real.

Imitation of Christ LA Spring/Summer 2021 Couture Presentation

After a seven-year hiatus, L.A.-based cult-favorite label Imitation of Christ is back. The conceptual art project-turned-fashion collective staged its revival on 4th of July with an al fresco presentation under the Hollywood sign. True to the line's DIY DNA, last week creative director Tara Subkoff went bicoastal with socially-distant New York Fashion Week guerrilla presentations for IOS' its spring/summer 2021 couture collection.

The events took place Monday, Sept. 14 at Highland Park's Garvanza Skate Park and at New York's Houston Bowery art wall. (Perhaps you saw our IG Stories?) The collection ($75 to $1,795) is shoppable now on The Real Real and is comprised of upcycled vintage womenswear (including garments sourced from the online consignment platform) — think reworked sequin skirts and gowns, floral dresses with tulle accents, denim with hand-illustrated designs, sweaters embellished with handsewn appliqué, and more one-of-a-kind creations.

Imitation of Christ LA Spring/Summer 2021 Couture Presentation
Imitation of Christ co-founder/creative director Tara Subkoff (center) at the label's L.A. skate park presentation Monday, Sept. 14. Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Demme/Imitation of Christ

The reimagined pieces evoke the avant-garde, art-school cool that the subversive brand became known for when it was co-founded in 2000 by Subkoff and self-professed "handyman" and fellow art school dropout pal Matthew Damhave. Proceeds from the collection will benefit Black Lives Matter, COVID-19 relief, and Greta Thunberg's nonprofit, Fridays for the Future.

In line with IOS' history of teamwork (Chloë Sevigny was its first creative director) and theatrics, Subkoff tapped teenage female skateboarders Lola Valenti Roberts, Tessa Crockett, and Violet Baudin Lackey as co-creative directors for the collection, which was inspired by "heroic acts of courage, standing up for civil rights, and working hard to promote unity during times that are appalling such as these," per a statement.

Imitation of Christ – Spring/Summer 2020 from AST.NYC on Vimeo.

The range was captured in a short film for the CFDA and filmed at Garvanza Skate Park (one of the few unofficially open skate parks in L.A.). Those stylish scenes were recreated Monday night at the park, where spectators included a handful of L.A. fashion editors and skaters from tots to teens (and their parents). Alongside the sounds of kickflips and ollies, the show's soundtrack featured operatic performances by singers sporting Edward Gorey-esque dresses and black parasols that nodded to IOS' first-ever show in 2001 at a Lower East Side funeral parlor.

In a statement, Subkoff explains: "I am thrilled to sell the collection on The RealReal, a company dedicated to extending the life cycle of beautifully made items… It's also a pioneer in reducing fashion's impact on the environment. This is exactly what we have been focused on since we started IOC in 2000. Working on appropriation, recycling, upcycling and buying used and not new. Thank you The RealReal for leading the charge in a more sustainable future of fashion."

Scroll through the gallery above to see more pieces from Imitation of Christ's spring/summer 2021 couture collection, then shop it online at The Real Real here.

Imitation of Christ LA Spring/Summer 2021 Couture Presentation
Models during Imitation of Christ's L.A. skate park presentation Monday, Sept. 14. Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Demme/Imitation of Christ
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